VI: Roman Gabriel
While many may not remember the stellar career of former Rams quarterback Roman Gabriel, those who still do have the good fortune of knowing just how special he was. When he arrived on the Rams roster, he was a backup quarterback behind starting quarterback Zeke Bratkowski. It wasn't long until Gabriel won the starting job.
Roman Gabriel was the prototypical NFL quarterback of any era. Standing 6-foot-5 and weighing a robust 220 pounds, Gabriel was a big and powerful presence in the pocket who could take the pounding of an NFL quarterback. And he did take a pounding. In 11 seasons as a quarterback for the LA Rams, he was a pocket passer who was sacked 262 times, or near 24 times a year. But when you factor in his having appeared in just 130 tames, he was sacked more than two times per game.
Still, Gabriel was a huge and powerful quarterback who rose to strike again. Over the course of his 11 seasons as quarterback for the LA Rams, he completed 1,705 of 3,313 passes for 22,223 yards, 154 touchdowns and 112 interceptions. While his accuracy was just 51.5 percent, keep in mind that many of the NFL rules that have gone into effect to protect both quarterbacks and defenseless receivers were not in place at that time.
When Gabriel was in his prime, quarterbacks who were set up to pass from the pocker were sitting ducks, and had to absorb tremendous pounding from pass rushers just to get the pass off for a completion. Sacks were part of the game, and many of the NFLs most prolific passers had to handle the inevitable pass rush.
Gabriel developed soreness in his arm, leading to his inevitable trade to the Philadelphia Eagles. But his chapter with the LA Rams was superb, and will stand the test of time for many years in the Rams record books.