Why has Cooper Kupp's ability to catch a pass disappeared this season?

Los Angeles Rams v Dallas Cowboys, Cooper Kupp
Los Angeles Rams v Dallas Cowboys, Cooper Kupp / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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LA Rams, Rams News, Rams roster, Cooper Kupp
Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Rams, Trevon Diggs, Cooper Kupp / Michael Owens/GettyImages

III: Kupp is used as a pseudo tight end

We have argued the point that the LA Rams loaded up on tight ends for the 2023 NFL season, but have yet to get anything remotely positive from the tight end room this season. Of the entire tight end group, the Rams have completed 29 of 47 passes for 317 yards and no touchdowns.

Including the Rams practice squad, that is the sum total of six tight ends.

So why do the Rams place blocking responsibilities on wide receiver Cooper Kupp? The short answer is simple. Because they can. The LA Rams base offense is an 11 personnel grouping, which consists of one running back (the first one), one tight end (the second one), and three wide receivers. Because the Rams love to run and pass out of this formation, the responsibility of the wide receivers on running plays balloon to that of a tight end.

Save Kupp for catching passes

While that type of prestidigitation is great to fool defenses on a limited basis, the constant demand placed upon Kupp (and any wide receiver for that matter) to crash down and block a defensive end or outside linebacker over the course of a game takes its toll.

Cooper Kupp is now over 30 years old, is coming off an injury-shortened season in 2022, and has been hampered by an injury already this season. Perhaps it's time to ask less of Kupp in terms of running into a brick wall in blocking. Or here's a wild and crazy idea. How about putting a blocking tight end into the game and sparing the best wide receiver on the team from the wear and tear that comes with blocking immovable objects?