LA Rams Matthew Stafford to Cooper Kupp means more than records

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The chemistry between LA Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Cooper Kupp may not have been instantaneous. But it has certainly been pronounced. In this LA Rams offense, the balance has been the name of the game over the past four seasons. Under the leadership of former quarterback Jared Goff, no receiver was targetted more often than 139 times.

The greatest margin of difference between the top receiving target and the second receiving target was 17 passes. The greatest margin of difference between the top receiver and the second receiver was 81 yards.  Parity. Balance. The LA Rams presented mirror images on the football field. Whichever receiver was the focus of the defense, the offense simply opted to throw to that receiver’s reflection.

It was both a blessing and a bane for the Rams’ offense. While it certainly kept defenses guessing at times, it eventually led to defensive coordinators detecting the pattern, and allowing them to guess the proper coverages before the games. It’s difficult to pass if the opponent knows who is your primary target. To compensate, the Rams routes became shorter and shorter.

Stafford slings the long ball

Fast-forward to the present day, and the LA Rams offense is not shrinking. In fact, the presence of Matthew Stafford leading the offense is having a bit of the opposite effect. Since 2018, the LA Rams passing game has become a shorter game version of itself. This season, with Stafford throwing the ball, the offense is very much appearing to run like that of 2018. Well, with two exceptions.

In 2018, the LA Rams had nearly a fully potent Todd Gurley running the ball. His 1,251 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground were a huge plus for the offense. While Cooper Kupp was injured, the LA Rams benefitted from nearly identical seasons from both Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks, both recording 1,200 + receiving yards.

The Rams have relied more heavily upon Sony Michel in recent weeks. But his 802 rushing yards and four touchdowns are a far cry from Gurley’s 2018 production.

That is why Cooper Kupp’s 1,829 yards and 15 touchdowns so far this season are so critical for the offense, and quarterback Matthew Stafford’s success. We’ll talk about setting records again. And we’ll talk about the LA Rams passing game. And, oh yeah, we’ll talk about Matthew Stafford and the LA Rams offense quite often through post-season.

But, for now, it’s enough to simply appreciate the value of Matthew Stafford to the ability to fully realize the potential of wide receiver Cooper Kupp. Similarly, it’s vital to know just how important a receiver like Cooper Kupp is to Matthew Stafford and the entire LA Rams offense.

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