NOTEBOOK : Infante's Game Plan Against the Rams Was Short and Sweet


Lindy Infante of the Green Bay Packers, the consensus coach of the year in the NFL last season, certainly seemed to come up with the right scheme Sunday against the Rams.

With Anthony Dilweg starting at quarterback and the Rams dropping into deep zone coverages, Infante relied heavily on the short pass to sustain drives.

"We weren't trying to be ultraconservative, but we didn't want to go out there and throw the ball up for grabs a lot either," Infante said. "We wanted to control the flow of the game a little bit and throw some high-percentage stuff."

Dilweg completed 63% of his passes and threw three touchdowns without an interception.

"The Rams like to sit back and you have to be patient with them," Dilweg said. "I had a lot of situations where I had to settle for dumping off to the backs and throwing short in the flat.

"But I'm methodical. I'll take the little things. We knew the big plays would come, but you have to wait for them."

Chris Jacke's 53-yard field goal in the third quarter tied a Green Bay record set in 1981 by Jan Stenerud. Then in the fourth quarter, he missed a PAT attempt for the first time in his NFL career after connecting on 45 in a row.

And later in the final quarter, he lost a 50-yard field goal when the Rams were penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct--running and jumping by Frank Stams. The Packers decided to take the five-yard penalty, negating the field goal. Jacke got another chance and made a 40-yarder to give Green Bay the final margin of victory.

Infante said the Rams probably have more talent, but the Packers were more of a team Sunday.

"It's not like we don't have confidence in ourselves, but we know what we are," he said. "We're not loaded with talent. We have to play as a family. Both the offense and the defense really complemented each other today."

Jim Everett took the time to walk over and say a few words to Dilweg before the Packer quarterback made his first start.

"He came up to me before the game and wished me the best of luck," Dilweg said. "He said, 'I hope things work out for you this year.' I thought that was really nice of him."

One bright spot for the Rams was the punting of Keith English, acquired in a trade with the San Diego Chargers two weeks ago. English punted five times for a 48-yard average.

Latin Berry's NFL debut carrying the football for the Rams was less than auspicious.

Late in the second quarter, Berry took Jacke's kickoff a yard deep in the end zone and started to kneel for a touchback. But then he took a step forward out of the end zone.

Berry glanced at Robert Delpino, who was frantically signaling for Berry to take the touchback, but Berry looked down at his feet and realized it was too late.

So he hesitantly took off up field and managed to make it to the 15-yard line before being buried under a swarm of Packers.

There were a few Ram fans among the throng at Lambeau Field. Hanging behind the north end zone was a blue and gold banner that read: "When Everett Reigns, It Pours."

Unfortunately for the Ram fans, the weather prediction held. It was overcast, but no rain fell on this Packer parade.

Paul Tagliabue, making the first visit by an NFL commissioner to Green Bay since 1970, also gave a little litany of why the San Francisco 49ers are such a successful franchise. Hear this, everybody else?

Tagliabue, in a brief session with the media, defended his $500,0000 fine of 49er owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. for transferring ownership of the team to Eddie DeBartolo Sr.'s corporation without league approval three years ago.

Some had called the fine a meaningless slap on the wrist and said the league should have taken away some premium draft picks because the transferal gave DeBartolo and his team an unfair financial and competitive advantage.

Harrumph and not so, Tagliabue said Sunday. He even suggested that since the transfer, the 49ers have done worse than they had previously.

"I looked at their record in '81, '83 and '84," Tagliabue said. "They were 38-10 five or six years before the transferal to the corporation.

"Everything they've done has been through coaching and innovation and the draft. Everyone of their Pro Bowl players was acquired before the corporation, not after."

Tagliabue also intimated that there might be some hope for a long-stalled collective bargaining agreement between the owners and the players.

Right now, everything is tied up in a mangle of court cases that Tagliabue says won't help the process.

"I don't think anything's happening in the courts," Tagliabue said.

Coach John Robinson might not have been pleased with any other aspect of his team's performance, but he said nice things about the Rams' running attack.

"I thought we ran the ball fine," Robinson said. "We just didn't run it very often."

The Rams ran the ball 24 times (passed it 40 times) for 87 yards. Curt Warner led the Rams' running back rotation with 47 yards in 13 carries.

"I didn't walk out of there feeling negative about our running game at all," Robinson said. "It's just we didn't run and we didn't try to run very much.

"I thought Curt Warner had a good game. If we had a rhythm, I think Warner would have had a 100-yard game."

Tom Newberry, the Rams' guard who played college football at Wisconsin La Crosse, had about 200 tickets set aside for family and friends.

Packer defensive back Jerry Holmes has started for five teams in his 11-year pro career--the New York Jets, the Pittsburgh Maulers (USFL), the New Jersey Generals (USFL), the Detroit Lions and now Green Bay. Holmes, a Plan B free agent, had a fumble recovery and return to set up the Packers' final touchdown Sunday.

Associated Press contributed to this story.

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