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PRO FOOTBALL / DAILY REPORT : RAMS : Good Thing Bettis Is a Good Runner

An effective Jerome Bettis has allowed the Rams in recent weeks to mask their obvious shortcomings at wide receiver. While many teams employ four wide receivers, the Rams have trouble fielding a competent No. 3 receiver and have instead been running Bettis more often.

Knox, in fact, paused and appeared stumped when asked Thursday to name the team’s No. 3 wide receiver.

“We’ve gone back and forth there,” Knox said. “I would say probably Sean LaChapelle.”

LaChapelle, a rookie, has been a bust this season, catching only two passes. Richard Buchanan was No. 3 at one time, but has spent much of his time on the practice squad. Todd Kinchen is sidelined because of a knee injury. Ernie Jones has a broken finger and might be listed as inactive for Sunday’s season finale against the Chicago Bears at Anaheim Stadium.

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Instead of using a third receiver, the Rams have deployed their tight ends to block for Bettis.

In the last six games, the only wide receiver other than Flipper Anderson and Henry Ellard to catch a pass was LaChapelle.

“When we go to our two-minute offense, we put a guy in there,” Knox said. “But we’ve been trying to stay with a mixture of other combinations in there to help our running game.”

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Bettis was named winner of the Daniel F. Reeves Memorial Award and the Carroll Rosenbloom Memorial Award.

The Reeves award is given each year to the team’s most valuable player as selected by members of the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Assn. The Rosenbloom award goes to the team’s rookie of the year.

Bettis becomes the first Ram since Eric Dickerson in 1983 to win both awards in the same year.

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More than 24,000 tickets remained unsold at Thursday’s deadline to lift the local television blackout of Sunday’s game.

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Linebacker Henry Rolling said he will be ready to start against the Bears after missing much of last week’s game because of a hip injury.

Wymon Henderson, who has missed the last three games because of a groin injury, will start at left cornerback.

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