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PRO FOOTBALL WEEK 3 | IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Player Revolt? What Player Revolt?

September 21, 1998

Ram players held two players-only meetings recently to air grievances about Coach Dick Vermeil's grueling practices. Linebacker Mike Jones said that the long practices every day are one reason the Rams trailed, 14-0, after the first quarter of both of their first two games. So Vermeil listened to the players and gave in to some of their demands. Beginning last Wednesday, he made the following adjustments to practice:

* Players could report at 9 a.m., rather than 8.

* Injured players needing treatment didn't have to show up until 8 a.m., rather than 7.

* Time on the practice field was shortened to 2 hours 15 minutes, rather than three hours.

* Drills for offensive and defensive players were run at the same time.

The reviews were positive. "We have less time standing around," quarterback Tony Banks said. "Previously, we were doing offensive and defensive drills at different times. But if we continue to lose, I'm sure the schedule's going to go right back to the way it was."

No need to worry, Tony. The Rams defeated the Bills, 34-33, on Sunday, moving to 1-2 for the season and improving to a sparkling 6-13 in the Vermeil era.

However, the Rams trailed, 7-0, after the first quarter. So all that time saved in practice didn't translate into a fast start in the game.

After all, Vermeil didn't get to be 6-13 by not knowing what he's doing.

AFTERWARD, ROLAIDS PROVIDES CALCIUM

Have you wondered how those NFL linemen develop their Adonis-like physiques? Here's what Jon Torine, the Indianapolis Colts' conditioning coach, likes his players to eat for their pregame meal, with the nutritional benefit each item provides. Please consult you doctor, or Richard Simmons, before attempting this meal at home:

* Minestrone soup with saltines: provides sodium and liquids.

* Baked fish or chicken: low-fat protein.

* Mashed or baked potatoes: Fills stomach, high in carbohydrates.

* Rice Pilaf: Carbohydrates for muscle energy.

* Spaghetti: Carbohydrates for muscle energy.

* Turkey or ham: Protein.

* Green beans or peas: Vitamins and minerals.

* Melon slices or bananas: Vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates.

* Water or juice: Prevents dehydration.

THIS PROVES THAT RULES ARE MADE TO BE CHANGED

Here is this week's NFL spotlight public-service announcement:

There have been three specific rules changes enacted for the 1998 season. They are:

* Inducement of false starts by defensive players prohibited--Nicknamed the "flinch" rule, a stationary defensive player within one yard of the line of scrimmage cannot make a quick and abrupt move in an obvious attempt to cause an offensive player to false start. Five-yard penalty. Reason for rule change: This type of action is unsportsmanlike and was never intended to be part of the game.

* Twelve players in an offensive huddle prohibited--Offenses cannot have 12 (or more) players in the huddle, even if players leave before the snap. Five-yard penalty. Reason for rule change: Offenses were intentionally trying to confuse defenses about which formations they would use, prohibiting defenses from adjusting to match the offense.

* Tinted helmet eye shields are prohibited--Reason for rule change: Allows medical personnel to easily see the eyes of an injured player.

THREE PLAYERS TO KEEP YOUR EYE ON

Six players in the NFC have three or more sacks. Three are previous Pro Bowl selections--Carolina linebacker Kevin Greene, New York defensive end Michael Strahan and Green Bay defensive end Reggie White. The other three? Has anyone ever heard of New York defensive end Chad Bratzke, New Orleans tackle La'Roi Glover and Green Bay defensive end Keith McKenzie?

The three combined for a total of 17.5 sacks before this season.

Bratzke is in his fifth season and third as a starter. He has 7.5 sacks in his last 12 games, which projects to 10 sacks over a full season.

Glover is a three-year veteran, but this is his first year as a starter. He has 10.5 sacks in his last 16 games.

McKenzie is a third-year pass rush specialist who has 9.0 sacks in his last 16 games.

GALLOWAY LOOKS GOOD IN COMPARISON

Sunday's 24-14 victory over Washington was the 50th NFL game for Seahawk receiver Joey Galloway. Galloway's statistics over that time are better than those of Seahawk great and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Steve Largent. A comparison of Largent's numbers after 50 games and Galloway's:

Largent--178 receptions, 2,949 years, 24 touchdowns, 10 100-yard games.

Galloway--205 receptions, 3,332 yards, 29 touchdowns, nine 100-yard games.

I'D LIKE TO EXTRACT MY FOOT FROM MY MOUTH

On Thursday, Bengal receiver Carl Pickens was so confident that Cincinnati would beat Green Bay that he was already talking about the celebration to follow.

"Wait until next week. Wait until Monday," he said. "We're going to be in the locker room having a big old party, having fun, because we're going to beat the Green Bay Packers. And like one of the coaches said, this is a playoff year. We think that. We know that.

"We believe that."

Cincinnati lost, 13-6.

The Bengals (1-2) haven't had a winning record since 1990, the last year they made the playoffs.

--Compiled by Houston Mitchell

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