I: Rans Rice Krispies receiver?
If you ask LA Rams fans what is the one thing about veteran wide receiver Cooper Kupp, it's the fact that the guy is injured way too often. But even in his healthy playing days this season, the truth of the matter is that the chemistry between QB Matthew Stafford and WR Cooper Kupp is a pale version of itself in 2023. Kupp has a horrific catch percentage this season.
Let's not try to read the wrong message here. When veteran wide receiver Cooper Kupp is healthy, he is one of the most dangerous and competent wide receivers in the NFL. But how can the Rams keep him healthy? In 6.5 NFL seasons, Kupp has played in 86 of a possible 115 games, That is a participation rate of nearly 75 percent. While that is not too alarming, Since winning Super Bowl LVI, Kupp has only competed in 15 of 27 possible games. which works out to just 55.6 percent of the opportunities over the past two years.
Time to gear down on Kupp
Much like Matthew Stafford and Tyler Higbee, the problem with Kupp is not that he cannot play the position well, he can. The problem is that the 30+ year old receiver has plummeted from All-Pro numbers to a more pedestrian but good NFL receiver tier. His current catch rate of 52.2 percent is hands down the worst catch rate of his seven year NFL career. Meanwhile, 375 receiver yards in six NFL games is only better than his rookie season.
Can he come back strong to finish off the 2023 NFL season? He probably will. But the LA Rams front office has to place 2023 in a proper framework. Kupp is over 30 years old, is coming off an injury-shortened season, and has been getting banged up this year as well. The LA Rams had parted ways with WR Robert Woods, Odell Beckham Jr., and Allen Robinson when those conditions were met.
Kupp is still a very good receiver, like many players on this list. As such, he still has plenty to offer the LA Rams this year and in years to come. But Kupp is getting to the point where he should transition from the top receiver to the wiley possession receiver who can move the chains and keep offensive drives going.
Getting old is not fun, and in a young man's sport of professional football, getting up in years shows up in the statistics long before a player is ready to hang up his cleats in retirement. The LA Rams planned to use the 2023 NFL season to lean heavily upon veterans Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Aaron Donald. But we are finding evidence that the Rams may need to give serious consideration to successors to their highly-accomplished veterans.
The Rams have done very well in the 2023 NFL Draft of adding future NFL stars. Unfortunately, the job is not finished just yet. The Rams need to add successors for these veterans as well.