Jim Everett, the lowest-ranking quarterback in the NFL for the second week in a row, reacted angrily Monday when asked if he will be the Rams’ starting quarterback in Houston on Sunday.
” . . . ridiculous,” Everett said. “Any other questions?”
Coach Chuck Knox had prompted the questioning of Everett by refusing to say earlier in the day if Everett would remain the team’s starting quarterback.
“We don’t make personnel decisions of any kind on Monday,” Knox said. “It’s just that simple.”
Knox’s statement followed yet another poor performance by Everett and increasing public disenchantment with him.
“I still think that I’m one of the best quarterbacks in the league,” Everett said. “And hopefully I can prove it.”
Has the criticism he has received been warranted?
“I have no opinion on it,” Everett said.
How is he coping with it?
“Like I always do,” he said. “Any other questions?”
Is it affecting his preparation or play?
Is it making him angry?
“I’m the quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams,” Everett said, “And we’re 1-2. I’m working to do the best job I can possibly do to get a win this week.
“We’re the target on the field and we’re the target off the field. That’s the nature of the beast, guys. It’s not going to change. We’re 1-2. I hope that we will be better. I hope our offense performs better, and I hope I perform better.”
Ted Tollner, quarterback coach, has been one of Everett’s staunchest supporters while still being direct in his criticism.
“I’m not going to sit here and defend him because he’s not playing as well as he can play,” Tollner said. “We don’t have a lot of margin of error. He has to make every throw that we have a chance to score on.
“He’s the first guy that I will tell that to. When we get a chance, I don’t care if there’s a safety blitz on or not, when we get a chance to throw a touchdown pass we’ve got to make that play if we expect to win. That’s where we are offensively.”
Wide receiver Flipper Anderson had beaten the Giants’ pass coverage in the second quarter Sunday, but Everett underthrew the pass, giving cornerback Mark Collins time to knock the ball down. Everett said later he had been forced to throw early because of a safety blitz.
“Put yourself in his place right now,” Tollner said. “Basically, everybody is extremely critical and all the frustration that anyone has on our team right now is being heaped on him. There’s no way to defend it, except play and win.”
Everett has completed 49 of 103 passes for 531 yards with six interceptions and two touchdowns. Atlanta’s Bobby Hebert leads quarterbacks with a 125.7 rating. Everett is last at 45.4.
How do the Rams get better play from their quarterback?
“The other alternative is the obvious one (making a change), but I don’t see that being a choice at this point,” Tollner said. “That’s my opinion, but it all comes down to what the head coach says.
“You can do one of two things: You look at what you’re doing and do it better by practicing, or you have different people do it. I think we’re making the right decision now on the people we’re playing.”
Said Knox: “I’m going to tell you again, I said it before and I’ll say it again, that when you’re losing, often times the quarterback gets too much of the blame. What we got to do is go out and do the job . . . that’s everybody.
“Jim Everett by himself is not totally responsible for the poor offensive performance. Certainly Jim’s got to play better, and so do a lot of other people who played (Sunday), particularly on offense.”
The Ram offense ranks 25th in the league, 27th rushing and 19th passing. Next Sunday, it runs into Buddy Ryan’s Houston defense, which hasn’t given up a touchdown in its last two games.
In three previous games against Ryan’s defense, when Ryan was head coach at Philadelphia in 1988-1990, Everett completed 59 of 113 passes for 918 yards with six touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Uphill Climb Saddled with a 1-2 record and an unproductive offense, the Rams face an unenviable assignment Sunday: a trip to Houston to meet an Oiler team on the rebound from its second loss in three games. Warren Moon will be out to prove his four-interception game against the Chargers was a fluke, and Buddy Ryan’s defense figures to hassle Ram quarterback Jim Everett as it did San Diego’s Stan Humphries. Season to Date Record: 1 win, 2 losses Rushing
Att. Avg. TDs Rams 63 3.2 2 Opponents 102 3.3 3
Rushing Yards Rams: 201 Opponents: 339
Fumbles/Lost Rams: 2/0 Opponents: 6/4
Att. Cmp. TDs Rams 103 49 2 Opponents 89 57 2
Passing Yards Rams: 512 Opponents: 547
Interceptions/Yards Returned Rams: 2/6 Opponents: 6/117
First Downs Rams: 42 Opponents: 56
Time of Possession Rams: 25:07 Opponents: 34:53
Punts/Average Rams: 17/38.4 Opponents: 14/43.1
Scoring by Quarters
1 2 3 4 OT Total Rams 3 20 3 17 0 43 Opponents 16 16 21 3 0 56
Scoring by Quarters
Rams 3 20 3 17 43 Opponents 16 16 21 3 56