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RAM NOTEBOOK : Conlan Forced to Take On Two Foes

September 20, 1993|T.J. SIMERS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Almost from the outset, linebacker Shane Conlan looked like a man who had tried to run against traffic in the Lincoln Tunnel.

He didn't play against the Pittsburgh Steelers a week ago because of a groin injury, and it was obviously bothering him Sunday while playing the New York Giants.

But Conlan remained in the game and finished as the Rams' leading tackler with 15 stops.

"It's basically just fighting it between plays," Conlan said after receiving lengthy treatment from the training staff after the game. "It's kind of weird; it's kind of psychological.

"It hurts, all right, but once you're out there making the plays, it's fine--you don't feel it."

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Gary Sidelined: Running back Cleveland Gary was in uniform, but he did not play against the Giants because of a thigh bruise.

Rookie Jerome Bettis made his first NFL start and gained 33 yards in nine carries.

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Going National: A New York newspaper reported that unnamed Ram players have begun referring to Jim Everett as Chris Everett in reference to his skittish play at times. While that might be an exaggeration, "The NFL Today" pregame show on Sunday dedicated a segment to discussion of whether Everett has become gun-shy.

In addition to showing the "phantom sack" in the Rams' 1989 NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers, they showed videotape from the Rams' season-opening loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Everett is seen throwing an interception, but instead of trying to make the tackle, it appears he turns his back and runs away from several Packer blockers.

On "The NFL Today" segment, former Pittsburgh quarterback Terry Bradshaw showed viewers how Everett has a tendency to throw off his back foot. He suggested in closing that Everett's problems might be due to his lost confidence in teammates.

Everett was asked after the game what he might say to his critics if given the chance.

"I'd have to say I'll just keep trying the best I can," Everett said. "You guys are my voice to the fans, that's how I look at it. I think there will be brighter times."

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Ask the Boss: Everett has had six passes intercepted, and thrown two touchdown passes in three games. In addition, he has completed only 49 of 103 passes for 531 yards.

Asked why the Rams have so many problems on offense, Everett replied, "You're asking me questions that you need to ask (Coach) Chuck Knox."

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Top Sackmaster: Defensive end Robert Young continues to pile up the sacks for the Rams. Young, tied for the NFC lead with teammate Sean Gilbert before the game with four, added two Sunday.

Defensive end Fred Stokes, who was signed as a free agent from Washington during the off-season, picked up his first two sacks of the year.

Safety Michael Stewart was also credited with a sack.

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Casualties: Giant linebacker Lawrence Taylor, who failed to get past Ram tackle Irv Eatman, was forced from the game in the second half because of a hamstring injury.

Starting Ram defensive tackle Marc Boutte left the game on the Giants' first offensive series after bruising his tail bone.

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Go-to Guy: Giant running back Rodney Hampton, who set a personal record for rushing attempts last week with 29, eclipsed that mark in the third quarter and finished with 134 yards in 41 attempts.

"He's one of those backs who seems to get stronger as the game goes on," Giant Coach Dan Reeves said. "He's going to get plenty of opportunities to carry the ball if we continue to move it on the ground like we have."

Reeves, who spent 12 years as head coach of the Denver Broncos, said he's never had a back "as big and as good" as Hampton.

"We've got the offensive line here that matches up well with a back like Rodney, too," Reeves said. "He's a very tough runner and he's been doing one heck of a job."

Hampton has 92 carries, 344 yards and a 3.7 rushing average in three games.

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Time's on Their Side: Time of possession isn't always a meaningful statistic, but it was clearly indicative of the way the Giants dominated the Rams. Midway through the third quarter, New York had controlled the ball for 30 minutes 54 seconds and the Rams had possession for just 8:13.

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Serving Youth: George Young, the Giants' general manager/vice president who hired Reeves, is obviously pleased with the way the team has responded to the new coach.

But Young says Reeves' handling of the Giants' younger players is a key factor that most have overlooked.

"People think of our team in terms of (Phil) Simms and (Lawrence) Taylor, the old fogies," Young said, "but we really have a lot of young players and Dan's been very patient with them.

"He's a new coach with a new approach and he has to find a niche in the system for these guys, and sometimes people forget that."

Times Staff Writer John Weyler contributed to this story.

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