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PRO FOOTBALL / DAILY REPORT : RAMS : Offensive Line in Transition

Wait five minutes, and the Rams’ starting lineup along the offensive line undoubtedly will change again.

Pay attention: In last week’s exhibition game with New England, the starters from left to right were Clarence Jones, Tom Newberry, Bern Brostek, Leo Goeas and Darryl Ashmore. On Monday, Wayne Gandy replaced Jones and Chuck Belin took Newberry’s spot. On Wednesday, Bill Schultz replaced Belin.

On Thursday, Coach Chuck Knox announced that Jones would start on the left side in place of Gandy who had replaced Jones. Schultz will start at left guard, and Jackie Slater will start at right tackle in place of Ashmore.

Why such an overhaul of the starting lineup?

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“It’s not a starting lineup,” Knox said, after naming Jones, Schultz, Brostek, Goeas and Slater as his starters for Saturday night’s game against the Raiders. “It’s still an evaluation process.

“I wish that I could say this is sewed up. That would mean we have a pat group and we were satisfied with everything that is happening. But I can’t say that. We’re still searching.”

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Linebacker Joe Kelly, who moved into the lineup last week for the Rams, will be playing his old teammates in this week’s exhibition game.

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“I don’t have to get revenge because those players are guys I respect very well,” Kelly said. “If Al Davis were lining up and he had on the uniform then obviously it would be different. I’m not going into this game all upset at Al Davis because there’s nothing I can do to get him.

“I don’t agree with what he did last year. To release me and make me a victim of the salary cap when there were backups on defense who made more money than me, just wasn’t right. He could have been a man about it, too, and called me instead of having a guy from the newspaper call and say I was cut.”

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Linebacker Shane Conlan rested a sore knee, but Knox said he expects him to play against the Raiders. Defensive end Fred Stokes (knee) and quarterback T.J. Rubley (arm) will miss the game.

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Stokes has been running daily and appears on the verge of returning to practice. Rubley, however, said there hasn’t been significant improvement in his sore arm despite having rested it almost three weeks.


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