NFL Notebook -- Losing Streak At 4 For Knox

Ex-Seahawk Coach Chuck Knox is in danger of losing five games in a row for the first time in his career Sunday when the Rams play Atlanta.

Knox inherited a struggling team when he replaced John Robinson, who is in town this weekend with USC to play the Huskies.

His situation is far from easy. It's hard to think of two more different people than Knox, to whom anything common sense was simply "eighth-grade Sewickley" (his Pennsylvania hometown), and Ram owner Georgia Frontiere.

Robinson tells the story in a Football Digest interview about going to Frontiere's home early in his Ram tenure.

"She has this guru who was praying to these glass crystals. We got to talking and I asked him how long he had been a guru and what he did before that. He told me he had been a drywall contractor in a previous life."

The writer noted that Robinson rolled his eyes and laughed after he told the story. Wonder if Knox has met the same guru?


Dan Reeves played and coached for Tom Landry in Dallas but can't bring himself to call Landry anything other than "Coach Landry."

"He's asked me a number of times to call him Tom," said Reeves. "But I just can't do it . . . It just doesn't sound right, doesn't feel right. I was raised differently. I'll always have that kind of respect for him. He'll always be Coach Landry for as long as I'm alive."


Joke heard around Kansas City:

What's the difference between a dollar and Joe Montana?

With a dollar, you can get four quarters.


Three of the Phoenix Cardinals' top five draft picks have undergone knee surgery this season - first-rounders Garrison Hearst and Ernest Dye, and linebacker Brett Wallerstedt.


Houston defensive lineman Lee Williams is the Oiler featured in the ESPN SportsCenter commercial in which he picks up a fumble in the end zone ("Fall on it? No way!"), runs down the field ("I see Chris Myers at the 50 - Not now Chris - I'm a busy man"), scores a touchdown, then puts out his own exercise video.

Williams gets heckled by fans on the road by who holler to him, "Hey, Williams, let me tell you my ultimate SportsCenter fantasy - You get knocked out of the game!"


Only one team in the NFL modern era has gone has gone through a season winless. It was Tampa Bay (0-14) in its inaugural season, 1976.

Cincinnati is 0-8 but has games with New England (1-8), Atlanta (2-6) and the Los Angeles Rams (2-6). Cincinnati's season has been marked by a series of second-half collapses. The Bengals have been outscored 97-29 after intermission.


Halftime is lunchtime for T.J. Rubley, who has replaced Jim Everett as the starting quarterback for the Rams. Rubley eats two sandwiches during halftime so he won't get hungry in the fourth quarter.

"You sometimes go five to seven hours between the pregame meal and the fourth quarter," Rubley said. "It's hard to go that long on any day without eating. Halftime is my lunch."


According to an NFL Players Association study, the average NFL career for a starter with a college degree is 2 1/2 years longer than for a starter without a degree. Starters with degrees also tend to have higher salaries.

One explanation offered by the union: Often there isn't much difference in the physical talent of athletes at the NFL level, so what separates them is intelligence and the ability to assimilate information.


-- Place-kicker Nick Lowery of Kansas City has been around 14 seasons and ranks these as the three worst for kickers: 1) Cleveland Stadium; 2) Shea Stadium (Jets); 3) Foxboro Stadium (Patriots).

-- Don Shula, who tries again for NFL record victory No. 325 this week, is 27-8 with backup quarterbacks starting for Miami.

-- Tampa Bay rookie receiver Horace Copeland is averaging 38.3 yards on his seven catches. Four were consecutive TD plays of 26, 67, 50, and 44 yards.

-- The Lions, who have gone from worst to first (7-2), have their best record since 1962.

-- New England has a bye this week after losing its past three games by a total of seven points.

-- Tight end Johnny Mitchell of the New York Jets calls himself "Seven-11" because "I'm open 24 hours a day."

-- The Jets have five sack-free games, the most by any team in the league. A year ago, Dallas was the only team to do it five times, and that was over an entire season.

-- NFL Properties expects to sell $30 million in Carolina Panthers merchandise in the Carolinas before Christmas.

Craig Smith covers the Seahawks and the NFL for The Seattle Times. Some of the information in this report came from the Dallas Morning News and Los Angeles Times.