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Robinson: ‘Time for Me to Move On’ : Replacement: Buddy Ryan is said to be the top choice, with Chuck Knox next on the list.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

With the John Robinson era over, the Rams could turn to Robinson’s direct opposite: Buddy Ryan.

Robinson’s resignation Wednesday signals the beginning of the Rams’ official search for a replacement and means the team can start discussions with Ryan, thought to be its top choice.

Team sources have said the Rams would begin no direct talks until Robinson had resigned, and earlier this week suggested that the timetable for finding a replacement would not be accelerated by an early resignation.

But Ryan, the feisty former Philadelphia Eagle coach who was fired at the end of last season despite three consecutive playoff appearances, has been the Rams’ top candidate for several weeks. And Ryan has said he is interested in the Rams.

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Ryan, according to several Ram sources, is intriguing because of the drafting expertise he showed in Philadelphia; because his motivational presence could shake up the Rams and because he probably would keep both offensive coordinator Ernie Zampese and defensive coordinator Jeff Fisher.

Ryan also is believed to be a finalist in Indianapolis, if the Colts fire Rick Venturi, asexpected.

Beyond Ryan, whose brash personality worries some Ram officials, the team considers current Seattle Seahawk coach and former Ram coach Chuck Knox as a possible stabilizing influencefor a team that desperately needs it.

But Executive Vice President John Shaw apparently has decided that the new coach must keep Fisher and probably Zampese, a condition Knox might not agree to.

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The Rams, even if they hire Ryan, plan to groom the 33-year-old Fisher for the top job and want to give him major personnel power as early as the off-season.

Under Knox, Fisher, whom the Rams feel is not ready to take full control, could learn and mature and be ready to be a head coach by 1993 or 1994.

According to sources, Fisher has been promised by Shaw that he will remain on staff, no matter what happens.

In a conference call Wednesday, Knox said he was meeting with Seattle management after the season to determine his situation, but he is expected to resign. Knox would not comment on thepossibility of replacing Robinson.

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“I have a lot of warm memories about L.A., about the Rams, about the players, the fans,the ownership, everything,” Knox said.

The Rams made the playoffs all five seasons he was coach.

After Ryan and Knox, the Rams are considering several other possibilities.

Among them are San Francisco 49er offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren, New England Patriot offensive coordinator and former Ram quarterback coach Dick Coury, Stanford Coach Dennis Green and Washington Redskin defensive coordinator Richie Petitbon.

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(Orange County Edition) Ryan At a Glance 1986: 5-10-1. Fourth in NFC East. Marked by Ryan’s return to Chicago, where he was defensive coordinator to Mike Ditka. Eagles force Bears into overtime before losing, 13-10. 1987: 7-8. Fourth in NFC East. Overtime losses to Packers and Giants prevent Eagles from posting first winning season since 1981. 1988: 10-7. First in NFC East. Beat Giants twice to make playoffs, only to lose in first round to the Bears, 20-12. 1989: 11-6. Second in NFL East. Win five of last six regular-season games. Lose in first round to Rams, 21-7. 1990: 10-7. Second in NFC East. With quarterback Randall Cunningham having his best season as a pro, Eagles again earn wild-card berth and again lose in playoff’s first round, 20-6 to Redskins.


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