Cooper Kupp delivered the kind of season wide receivers at any level dream about: Leading the league in not only catches, but yards and touchdowns by season’s end. Then he capped his dream campaign off by snatching the final touchdown to win the Super Bowl and earn Most Valuable Player.
Yet, the Los Angeles Rams captain and the league’s leading wideout in all three major statistical categories — or the “triple crown” — is sounding like he doesn’t want to relish in his past glory from 2022. He also sounds like he’s not looking at his 145 catches, 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns from 2021.
He shared this bold goal during the Rams’ “Behind the Grind” video feature.
“I want to be a better football player than I was the year before,” Kupp boldly said.
Kupp Not Taking Production & Past Success Lightly
The 6:04 long film released by the Rams on Monday, July 11 showcased what Kupp was doing next to Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks post Super Bowl 56.
Kupp was seen running sprints, then admitting “I’ve gotten slower, so that’s not ideal when it comes to speed training.” But after his last sprint, Kupp shared in front of cameras the importance of trusting the process — especially bringing up a time period when the Rams were struggling and being written off as a Super Bowl contender.
“One of the big things from last year was trusting in your process,” Kupp explained. “There’s things that went wrong during the course of our season, things that go wrong during the course of the game. There’s going to be wins, there’s going to be losses. We go on a three-game losing streak, but the process didn’t change.”
From an individual perspective, Kupp addressed the “statistical stuff” that gets attached to his name and how he responds to hearing the astronomical stats from a season ago.
“The big thing about last year was there’s a lot of statistical stuff that people are looking at, but you know for me it’s not about getting more yards, getting more catches, more touchdowns,” Kupp explained. “It’s not about that as much as it is being a better football player.”
Kupp says it’s an honor to see his name across the leaderboard of catches, yards and touchdowns. But he revealed he’s more inspired by the team output than his individual accolades.
“Being able to earn the triple crown this year was an incredible honor. It’s something that I don’t take lightly,” Kupp said. “The work that it takes across the board, the coaches, every single player that I step on that field with…to be in this kind of an offense and this kind of team, it’s an incredible honor that I don’t take lightly.”
‘When You Add All That up, There’s Cooper Kupp’
One man not surprised to see Kupp’s ascension is one of the men responsible for giving Kupp his NFL opportunity in 2017: General manager Les Snead.
The plays Kupp is making now? Snead and the Rams saw that in 2017 when they were evaluating him — watching him delivering similar catches from 2021 against future NFL talent in the 2017 Senior Bowl, which helped lead to Kupp’s name getting placed on the Rams’ draft board that class.
Since then, Snead has seen the work ethic and desire to get better out of the 69th overall pick from that draft class.
“He’s a bigger person than you might think. He’s a lot stronger person than you might think. That’s why he’s going to break the tackle just about every time he’s going to catch the ball. He can separate and he’s got an elite ability to change directions. When you add all that up, there’s Cooper Kupp,” Snead said.
Along with the sprints, Kupp was seen aiming to improve his already explosive route running — by performing jump squats with weights on each side and doing the deadlift. Both weight training exercises are known for helping ball carriers not only become explosive, but build enough lower body muscle to become strong enough to break off from opponents wrapping their arms around their legs.
Again, his boldest goal isn’t matching his numbers from a season ago. It’s becoming better across the board.
“There’s a lot of things that I want to be better at generically. I mean bigger, better, stronger and faster than before. It might not be reflected in the statistical production. When I watch the film, I want to say ‘I am better now than I was the year previous,'” Kupp said.