No. 83 Wide Receiver
As football nicknames go, Anderson's isn't going to frighten any defensive backs into retirement. In fact, any pro football player with the nickname Flipper would seem to need a good friend and body guard nicknamed Jaws. Anderson doesn't look like a football player, he's too skinny. He's 6-feet and weighs all of 169 pounds. The one thing Willie is, is fast. He's the fastest player the Rams have. And here's a new twist, this fastest player can catch the ball. He had a 2-touchdown, 117-yard performance against the San Diego Chargers during the exhibition season. Greg Bell
No. 42 Running Back
Bell made his way to the Rams via the Eric Dickerson deal. He brought with him a 1,000-yard season with the Bills in 1984, a couple of good hands and a reputation for getting bruised about as easily as a banana. Sure enough, two games into his Ram career, Bell was lost for the season because of a shoulder injury. In 8 rushes he gained 26 yards--or 18 yards fewer than Tim Tyrrell, who spent most of his time on special teams. Bell ran well during the exhibition season, leading the team with 189 yards in 40 carries, and has earned a shot at being rotated with Gaston Green and Charles White.
No. 84 Wide Receiver
Cox is very fast and from Arizona State. Remember what happened the last time these elements hooked up with the Rams? Can you say Olympic training? Bux Cox doesn't have those Ron Brown aspirations. He's fast, but he's not world-class fast. His strength as a receiver comes from his route running. Still, he's a big-play guy. He was a three-year starter at Arizona State and averaged 19.6 yards on each of his 126 receptions. He, like Anderson, doesn't look like a professional football player. Oh, Cox looks like a player, just one 17 years old. Robert Cox
No. 72 Tackle
So far, what we know about Robert Cox is that he's big (6-5, 270) and he can play both guard and tackle. He played in 10 games last season after spending all of the 1986 season (his rookie year) on injured reserve. He is a backup for now. He'll play behind Irv Pankey at left tackle. Still, he did lead all Ram offensive lineman in kickoff return yardage last season. Cox brought one back 12 yards against Cleveland. Rumor is that if he could have gotten just one block to spring him, he might have gotten 15.
No. 39 Fullback
No matter what Robert Delpino does this season, he has to consider 1988 a fortunate year. He made the team. He was fifth-round draft pick out of Missouri who arrived late to camp because he got lost (oh, that one). But he impressed coaches with his speed, hands and toughness. He's the type of straight-forward runner John Robinson loves. He rushed for 107 yards in 19 carries and caught 9 passes for 85 yards during the exhibition season. If he keeps on that kind of pace, it will be the Rams who consider themselves fortunate. Carl Ekern
No. 55 Linebacker
The Ram defensive captain is in his 13th season, tying him with Jackie Slater for senior service on the team. Still his weight at the close of the exhibition season was 222, which is eight pounds lighter than last year. Bulk has never been an Ekern attribute, brains and speed have. Though some hint that he is slowing up at 34, he was third on the team with 59 tackles last season. The Ram media guide says he enjoys hunting and playing tennis, but it neglects to tell if he does them simultaneously.
No. 80 Wide Receiver
Unlike in the past few years, Henry Ellard was in uniform and good spirits for the exhibition season. Happiness is a warm contract. Of course, even in those seasons when Ellard wasn't around, he always showed up in time to lead the team in receptions. He has led them in that category for the past four seasons. You might think in Ernie Zampese's offense, Ellard's numbers would increase. But this season there is Aaron Cox, there is Willie Anderson and Pete Holohan. All of which means more targets for Jim Everett. Still, the No. 1 target will remain Ellard.
No. 87 Tight End
Those of you who tuned in for the Rams' season opener against Houston last season were privy to the exclusive Jon Embree appearance of the year. He spent the remainder of the season (his rookie year) on injured reserve with an elbow injury. He's an excellent receiver, who will play behind Damone Johnson and Pete Holohan. Embree's biggest problem is his size. Unlike the 6-4 Johnson and Holohan, Embree is a measly 6-2. He did make nine catches in the exhibition season, including five against Denver.
No. 11 Quarterback