I: Father Time catching up to Cooper Kupp
The LA Rams front office has a pattern of shedding veterans when they turn 30 years old and are coming off an injury. But the team made an exception for wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who was injured last season but was retained as one of the Rams 'weight bearing walls,' for 2023.
The LA Rams did not hesitate to trade veteran wide receiver Robert Woods as he approached 30. ultimately agreeing to terms to send him to the Tennessee Titans. The Rams did not re-sign veteran wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. after he turned 30 and suffered an ACL injury in Super Bowl LVI. The LA Rams traded an underperforming veteran wide receiver Allen Robinson who was injured in 2022, and turned 30 this year.
Coincidence? I doubt that. I believe that the LA Rams' "nerd nest," simply tracks the pulse of player characteristics, and have concluded that NFL wide receivers who are approaching or exceed 30 years of age and who have suffered an injury are prone to diminishing productions.
Aging gracefully is not in the Rams mantra
This is not some effort to create drama or throw shade on anyone. It's simply a fact of life. Getting older, particularly in professional sports, ultimately results in a degradation of that player's ability to perform. Right now, the Rams have stuck with Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp, for better or worse.
Part of the responsibility of coaching in the NFL is the comprehension of the limits and strengths of players. There is not one player on the LA Rams roster who will not try to perform their best in whatever task the coaches ask of them,.
Cooper Kupp is one of those players whose discipline and training will have him in the best NFL shape possible. But is he the same player at 30, coming off a hamstring injury, as he was at 28 without injures? If not, why are the Rams expecting him to be?
It's time for the Rams to challenge themselves. This pattern of underperforming and underwhelming offense has become stagnant, even though the Rams appear to be hitting the mark with young talent. The common denominator for both the 2022 and 2023 seasons appears to lie in the fact that the Rams have done little to adapt their strategies to the strength of the Rams roster.
If the Rams can get the game plan to align with the personnel and strengths of this team, I believe that Cooper Kupp will return to playing his best football once more.