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Rams '89 : Profiling The Rams

September 08, 1989|MIKE REILLEY | Times Staff Writer

OFFENSIVE BACKFIELD RUNNINGS BACKS

GREG BELL

The workhorse in the backfield last year was a contract holdout through most of the exhibition season. A five-year pro, Bell rushed for 1,212 yards on 288 carries last season and led the team in touchdowns with 16. Also caught 24 passes for 124 yards. Traded to the Rams from Buffalo in 1987 deal that sent Eric Dickerson to Indianapolis.

CLEVELAND GARY

When the Rams' made Gary their first-round draft pick last spring, they hoped the former University of Miami back would beef up their backfield. They're still hoping. Gary has been a contract holdout.

GASTON GREEN

Started for part of exhibition season while Greg Bell was a contract holdout. Coming off a disappointing rookie season, where he carried the ball 35 times for only 117 yards, a 3.3-yard average. Has shown flashes of brilliance this season, rushing for 63 yards in the first half against Minnesota. Has shown flashes of mediocrity, fumbling twice in the third quarter against the Vikings. Became UCLA's all-time leading rusher and was selected in the first round of the 1988 draft by the Rams.

QUARTERBACKS

JIM EVERETT

The four-year pro emerged as one of the Rams' team leaders last year, passing for 3,964 yards. He completed 308 of 517 passes (59.6%), threw 31 touchdown passes and 18 interceptions. Finished sixth in balloting for the Heisman Trophy during his senior season at Purdue, where he led the nation in total offense.

STEVE DILS

A Band-Aid solution as backup quarterback. Two weeks ago, Dils was living the peaceful life of retired NFL quarterback, selling commercial real estate in Atlanta. But after reserve quarterback Mark Herrmann suffered a rib injury, the Rams called Dils, who they cut loose last season. In his first game back, he completed his only pass for nine yards in a 24-14 victory over Minnesota.

MARK HERRMANN

Fractured a rib on his left side when he was blindsided by Phoenix safety Tim McDonald in exhibition game and isn't expected back until the middle of the month. Entered training camp as No. 2 quarterback behind fellow Purdue graduate Jim Everett.

ROBERT DELPINO

Suffered a shoulder injury during exhibition season. Battling for starting position in Rams' muddled backfield. A two-year pro from Missouri, Delpino started three of 15 games he played in last year, gaining 147 yards on 34 carries.

BUFORD McGEE

Has a reputation as a fierce blocker. The five-year pro from Mississippi had only 16 carries but gained 117 yards. Started 12 of 16 games he played.

OFFENSIVE LINE GUARDS

DUVAL LOVE

The former Fountain Valley High School and UCLA star recently ended a contract holdout. The five-year pro started all 15 games he played in last year. Started three years at UCLA and was twice an All-Pac 10 selection.

TOM NEWBERRY

The three-year pro suffered a hamstring injury in off-season, which forced him to miss part of the preseason. Good speed for a lineman. Runs the 40 in 4.68 seconds. Can bench press 460 pounds and squat 740 pounds. Was taken in the second round of the 1986 draft out of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, an NAIA school.

WARREN WHEAT

A neck injury has sidelined the eighth-round draft pick from Brigham Young for part of the exhibition season. At 6-foot-6 and 275 pounds, Wheat brings size and pass blocking to the Rams.

TACKLES

JACKIE SLATER

Begins his 14th season and anchors an experienced offensive line with Doug Smith (11 seasons) and Irv Pankey (nine years). Was third-round draft choice in 1976 from Jackson State.

ROBERT COX

A reserve, Cox was a contract holdout for most of the exhibition season. At 6-foot-5, 285 pounds, he brings size and versatility to the offensive line. Can play both tackle and guard. Spent two seasons at UCLA after transferring from Chabot Junior College.

IRV PANKEY

Entering his 10th season with the Rams. Adds size and savvy to an experienced Rams' line. Started all 16 games last year. The Rams' biggest lineman at 6-foot-5, 295 pounds.

WIDE RECEIVERS

WILLIE ANDERSON

With Aaron Cox out with a hamstring injury, Anderson is making a serious run at the No. 2 receiving spot behind Henry Ellard. Had 14 catches in the exhibition season, matching his total of all last year. A threat on deep patterns, Anderson averaged 29 yards a catch last season, the best on the team. Nicknamed "Flipper," Anderson boasts a 36 1/2-inch vertical jump.

RON BROWN

Gold medalist in 400-meter relay at 1984 Olympics, came out of football retirement last year to rejoin the Rams. Playing in seven games, he caught two passes for 16 yards. Greatest contribution could come as a kickoff returner, however; his four career touchdowns on returns is a Rams record.

AARON COX

Cox, sidelined with a hamstring injury, was battling Willie Anderson for the No. 2 wide receiver position behind Henry Ellard. Caught 28 passes for 590 yards last year, an average of 21.1 yards a catch, second on the team to Anderson. Runs the 40 in 4.39 seconds and is considered an excellent route runner. Earned All-Pacific 10 honors as a senior at Arizona State.

HENRY ELLARD

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