Los Angeles Rams: Who Will Step Up in Cooper Kupp’s Absence?

Cooper Kupp, Rams
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

For the Los Angeles Rams, it was another week that ended with cheers from the Los Angeles faithful. They defeated the Seattle Seahawks 36-31, sweeping the season series against their division rivals.

Although the Rams came out victorious, there was a feeling of despair, as the Rams lost Cooper Kupp to injury for the rest of the season. Kupp tore his ACL in Week 10, ending his season prematurely.

Kupp was a key cog in the Rams explosive offense this season. In the eight games he started, Kupp had 40 receptions for 566 yards and 6 touchdowns.

He also had a catch percentage of 72.73%, which was 14th among wide receivers this season (led the Rams).

On a roster with Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, Kupp was still impressing in his second season in the NFL. It’ll be hard to replace the production Kupp brought to the Rams.

Injuries are a sad part of the game of football. The Rams will likely rally around Kupp, dedicating every game to him.

It’s tragic to see a guy like Kupp go down, but other guys will need to step up in his absence to keep the Rams rolling along smoothly.

Of course the Rams still have Cooks, Wood and Todd Gurley, but to beat teams like the New Orleans Saints or Kansas City Chiefs, you need all the firepower you can have.

When Kupp missed a couple of games earlier this year, Josh Reynolds stepped up in his place. When Kupp was out in Week 8, Reynolds scored two touchdowns.

Reynolds is definitely capable of stepping up, but will the Rams utilize him more? That remains to be seen, but it’s hard not to think his role will expand going forward.

Sean McVay hinted at Reynolds being the next man up with Kupp being out the remainder of the season (via The Rams Wire)

“Fortunately, we’ve got guys that are ready to step up. Josh Reynolds has definitely demonstrated that he’s more than capable – he is a starting-caliber player, and that’s what we’ll do moving forward,” he added. “Josh Reynolds has played a lot of quality football for us. He’ll step into a larger role

The Rams selected Reynolds in the 4th round of the 2017 NFL draft, making him a guy the Rams believed in. He will need to show the Rams why they were right to put their trust in him, by making plays when needed.

Reynolds is a taller wide receiver, easily making him a red-zone target for Jared Goff. Both of his touchdowns this year came in that area of the field.

At 6’3″, Reynolds is hard to miss and could become a viable weapon for the already loaded Rams offense.

The last couple of weeks, the Rams have started to utilize their tight-ends more. More opportunities have come for Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett in recent weeks.

They didn’t disappoint with those opportunities, stepping up when they were needed in their win over the Seahawks.

Both of them caught touchdowns in Week 10, as well as making crucial plays when needed. Here’s Dan Orlovsky breaking down the touchdown to Higbee.

To begin the season, neither of the tight-ends got much playing time. Before Week 8, the Rams tight-end duo had just 14 receptions and 1 touchdown.

Since then, they have combined for 12 catches and three touchdowns. In his tenure as the Washington Redskins offensive coordinator, McVay loved incorporating his tight-ends in his offense.

In Washington he had Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis. We could see McVay try to mimic that in Los Angeles, as they have two tight-ends who can catch the ball.

It’ll take a group effort from the Rams wide receivers and tight-ends to fill in for Kupp. The Rams could take a wide receiver by committee approach.

That means we could even see someone like Pharoh Cooper (who was just designated to return from injured reserve) get involved in the offense.

The good thing for the Rams, is that they are still 9-1, atop the NFC. They have plenty of weapons on this offense, even though the injury to Kupp does provide this Rams team with an unforeseen obstacle for the rest of the year.

When you have an offensive-genius like McVay, it makes life easier for everyone. You still can’t downplay the loss of Kupp for the Rams though.

Although, if there is a team that could survive an injury like this, it’s the McVay-led Rams. We will see on Monday night what the Rams plan of action is, when they face the high-powered Chiefs.