The first year that veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford competed with wide receiver Cooper Kupp, some incredible things happened for the LA Rams and for the NFL at large. If you recall, Stafford set the All-Time Rams Franchise Single Season Passing Record with 4,886 yards. He also tied the All-Time Rams Franchise Single Season Passing Touchdown record with 41 TDs, shared with Kurt Warner. He even set the Rams record for most completions in a single season with 404. Not a bad debut, eh?
Oh, but it gets better. Much much better. You see, Cooper Kupp got busy catching many of those passes and did a bit of record setting of his own. Kupp set a few of his own receiving records in 2021: the All-Time Rams Franchise Single Season Receiving Record for yards (1,947), touchdowns (16), and receptions (145).
The truly remarkable part is the fact that Kupp sat out in the fourth quarter of two games because the LA Rams has mounted a huge lead. That 'downtime,' would have an impact, because Kupp would flirt with two NFL All-Time Single Season Receiving records. He fell short of breaking the single-season receiver record by just 17 yards, and shy of the receptions record by 4 catches.
Stafford and Kupp: The Sequel
WR Calvin Johnson's NFL All-Time Single Season Record of 1,964 yards set in 2012 stands even to this day. Curiously, it was the passing of then-Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford who help Calvin Johnson, a.k.a. Megatron, to set the record. Stafford is now throwing to LA Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who nearly broke the record in 2021
That was then, this is now, right? Well, let's not be too hasty. The planets are aligning once more for an incredible Stafford-Kupp performance. For starters, veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford is the healthiest he has ever been at this time of the season in an LA Rams uniform. And Cooper Kupp is also fully healed. But what about the rest of the offense.
And how about this?
The LA Rams clearly focused on getting better play from the offensive line in 2023, and I think significant progress has been made in that direction. The Rams need to protect Stafford to get the passing game going, and I believe that the playbook is prepared to enlist even 12-personnel packages once more to ensure that is the case. But how can the Rams avoid secondaries doubling up on Cooper Kupp this year?
Well, they can't, at least not initially. But Stafford is working full on with all of the receivers this offseason. That should allow him to build the chemistry with other options like Van Jefferson, Tutu Atwell, Ben Skowronek, and even rookie Puka Nacua. As long as the Rams make defenses pay for paying too little attention to other receivers, Cooper Kupp will do the rest.
I don't believe that the Rams will have the opportunity to sit and rest starters in the fourth quarter of any games in 2023. That should mean that Rams fans get a full dose of Stafford to Kupp this year. Will that mean setting records? It's not out of the question, as this pair connected to set record in their first season playing together on the same offense.