Ram Notebook : Herrmann Insists He'll Be Ready, but Dils Might Make Return Visit

Times Staff Writer

Mark Herrmann isn't sure what the fuss is about. While the Rams were scrambling to find a replacement for the backup quarterback, who cracked a rib in Monday night's game, Herrmann spoke matter-of-factly about being in uniform for the Sept. 10 opener in Atlanta.

"I'm real confident," he said Wednesday. "That's 2 1/2 weeks away. I think I should be ready."

Taking no chances, the Rams put out an all-quarterbacks bulletin that included a phone call to 33-year-old Steve Dils, who is selling commercial real estate in Atlanta. Dils was a longtime backup with the Rams and knows the system. He was released last fall, claimed on waivers by Atlanta but wasn't offered a contract in 1989.

Wednesday, Dils was mulling over the proposition, which is basically this: take a few snaps in practice for a couple weeks and be ready should Herrmann not be available for Atlanta.

"The guy isn't coming in here to compete," Coach John Robinson said. "Herrmann's the two. There's nobody that's going to come in and take his place. You're buying insurance."

Dils is the logical short-term answer, should he wish to accept such a role. He was supposed to get back to the Rams today with an answer.

Quarterback coach Dick Coury said it wouldn't take Dils long to get ready.

"We could hand him a playbook on the bus on the way to the game," Coury said. "I think he could get in shape in about 10 minutes."

Herrmann's ribs, meanwhile, were feeling much better, he reported. He says he could play in the Atlanta game at even less than 100%

"You can always wear protective padding," he said. "And there's not any guarantee I'd be in the game anyway."

Alex Stewart, the former Cal State Fullerton Titan and eighth-round pick of the Vikings, has a broken hand and won't make the trip west for Saturday night's game against the Rams. The original break didn't set properly and surgery was required. Stewart, a defensive end, had two pins inserted in the hand and is wearing a cast extending to his elbow.

Minnesota Coach Jerry Burns said Stewart had been making progress, though not enough.

"Right now we just have him in conditioning drills and things of that consequence," Burns said, "but if he ever makes a decision to discipline himself from a football standpoint and a personal standpoint he can play in the league."

Ram Notes

Receiver Mike Williams, the team's 10th-round pick, underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee. Williams is expected to be out four to six weeks. . . . Steve Miles, a Rams' public relations assistant, announced his resignation Wednesday and intends to explore other opportunities. Miles had taken the job vacated by Doug Ward, who resigned last summer for similar reasons. . . . Coach John Robinson said holdout first-pick Cleveland Gary has greatly hurt his chances to contribute this season. "I think he can contribute, but I think it would be in a selective role," Robinson said. "And that role would expand as the season goes along. He's a real good player, no question about it." . . . The Rams and Gary's agent are talking again but remain more than a million dollars apart.. . . Mark Herrmann said he didn't take offense to the third-quarter safety blitz by Phoenix safety Tim McDonald that caused his injury. "They blitzed a lot in the first game we saw," Herrmann said of the Cardinals' exhibition opener against Seattle. "They got (quarterback) Jeff Kemp a number of times. That's part of the game. I can't fault them for that." . . . Herrmann wasn't wearing a flak jacket at the time of the hit, but plans to wear one from now on. . . . Safety James Washington had his knee examined Wednesday but no damage was revealed.

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