Ram Notebook : A Rivalry It’s Not, but Beating Raiders Would Be Valued
If the Rams and Raiders were a great college cross-town rivalry, someone from El Segundo, let’s call him Al, would have by now captured the Rams’ lovable team mascot, dog Ofer, and painted him silver and black.
“That would be good, wouldn’t it?” quarterback Jim Everett said Friday.
The truth is, this isn’t UCLA vs. USC, or Harvard vs. Yale. This week, there have been no bonfire pep rallies, Knute Rockne speeches, or tug-of-war contests between the team’s accounting departments.
“It’s not a sellout and it’s not all those other things either,” Everett said. “If we played every year, it would be made into something of that nature. But it’s the biggest deal we got this week.”
Doesn’t exactly raise goose bumps. “RAMS, RAIDERS, BIGGEST DEAL THIS WEEK!”
Now, important is another thing. You don’t think the Rams want to head into New York next week at 3-0?
“There are not too many teams that are in the same city,” Everett said. “I’m sure whoever wins will make a big deal out of the bragging rights. But we’re taking it as business as we would any week. I don’t think you can have highs and lows, you have to keep an even keel.”
As for that game strategy. . . . The Raiders are down two cornerbacks with injuries, Terry McDaniel and Lionel Washington. But Everett say he doesn’t think the Raiders will change their aggressive man-to-man defense.
“Their philosophy is going to be the same,” Everett said. "(Offensive coordinator) Ernie Zampese has been against them with Lester Hayes and without him. There may be a change here or there, but they’re the type of team that says, ‘Hey, we’re going to dominate on the defensive line, and we’ll play man-to-man and we’ll make big plays.’ ”
So far, it has been a great week for Ram linebacker Mike Wilcher, who was named the National Football Conference’s defensive player of the week. And considering the condition of the Raider offensive line these days, you might think things are only going to get better.
In a span of one week, the Raiders have lost Jim Lachey in the Jay Schroeder trade and Brian Holloway and Don Mosebar to injuries.
And it just so happens that the key to the Rams’ new Eagle defense is getting pressure on the quarterback.
“It’s going to be crucial,” Wilcher said. “They’ve got such good skill people with their receivers that it’s critical for us to keep constant pressure on them the whole game.”
So far, it has worked. The Rams have 12 quarterback sacks in two games, twice as many as they had after two games last year.
And it’s no surprise that the Rams’ three outside linebackers are leading the team in sacks. Kevin Greene leads with three, and Wilcher and Mel Owens have two each.
Wilcher leads the team with 11 unassisted tackles.
“I think the key is the way the defense is playing together in the Eagle,” Wilcher said of his success. “Myself and Kevin are able to get pressure on the quarter. The design is just go get ‘em. The whole way of thinking is different. It just sort of turns you loose.”
Wilcher said the competition at linebacker is fierce and fun.
“We’re all rotating now, so you don’t want to be the guy who doesn’t look good on the film,” he said. “The biggest thing is you don’t want to mess up on film.”
To capture the feeling of a road game, the Rams are spending Saturday night at the Hyatt Regency in Los Angeles. . . . Nose tackle Greg Meisner and tailback Keith Jones will be placed on the team’s inactive list for Sunday’s game.