Los Angeles Times
Plenty weapons in passing game
Cooper Kupp thrived in Matthew Stafford’s Rams debut, showing team has more than one deep threat.
Getting open seemingly has never been a problem for Rams receiver Cooper Kupp.
Sometimes it requires a move or a burst of speed. Other times, the fifth-year pro achieves it with patience, by letting a well-designed play develop.
On Monday, Kupp acknowledged that until he watched it on digital replay, he had no idea he was so wide open when he caught a long touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford in the Rams’ 34-14 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
“It was really just about running down the middle of the field,” Kupp told reporters during a videoconference.
Van Jefferson’s 67-yard touchdown in the first quarter and Kupp’s 56-yard touchdown in the third helped coach Sean McVay show future opponents that the passing game will not be limited this season.
The Rams signed veteran DeSean Jackson to provide a deep threat. But every receiver — and tight end Tyler Higbee — also could fill that role.
“In a perfect world, every receiver you put out there is a threat to be able to get over the top,” Kupp said, adding, “The more you can do, the easier it is for us as receivers, knowing defenses aren’t locked into us having certain roles or certain routes . ... DeSean is going to get his inevitably. It’s coming; I know it’s coming for him.
“Luckily, Van and I were the recipients this week. But every week, I think it’s just going to be about who ends up happening to have their number called for those shots and making the most of them when they come.”
McVay said he would not limit receivers to certain routes. He intends to build the deep-ball success.
“It starts with being able to give our players the opportunity — that’s the one thing if I’m looking at myself critically, I haven’t always done that,” McVay said. “We’ve got a handful of guys that we feel like we can activate in all parts of the field. … The fact that we can do that with any of our skill players is something that I think makes you more difficult to defend.”
Kupp suffered a knee injury last season during an NFC wild-card victory over the Seattle Seahawks and sat out the Rams’ NFC divisional-round playoff defeat to the Green Bay Packers.
The victory over the Bears was his first game action since the injury.
“There’s always that first play — get the first play out of the way and just get back to it,” said Kupp, who caught seven passes for 108 yards.
Stafford passed for 321 yards and three touchdowns in his debut. But Kupp indicated there is more to come.
“There’s a lot of things we can improve,” he said of the offense. “I don’t think that’s us at our best.”
Nose tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day suffered a knee injury against the Bears, McVay said. Joseph-Day might be held out of practice Wednesday but the issue is not expected to affect his status for the upcoming game at Indianapolis . ... Running back Sony Michel, acquired in a late preseason trade, carried only once for two yards. McVay said the flow of the game led him to play Darrell Henderson nearly every down. “You can expect to see a little bit more of Sony,” McVay said, “but if a game unfolds like that, I think we’d take a similar approach.”… Bears running back David Montgomery rushed for 108 yards, but McVay said he was not overly concerned about his run defense. “That’s something that we’ll definitely have some urgency addressing, but I don’t sense that’s anything for us to worry about,” he said. McVay blamed himself for keeping players out of tackling situations during practice and not playing starters during preseason games. But he said he would not change that policy because it helps avoid injuries.