It’s not his routes or his catching ability. It’s what is above Kupp’s eyes.
Stafford told reporters on June 9 that Kupp has impressed the 13-year veteran with his brain, calling him ‘one of the smartest guys I’ve played with.’ Stafford dove deeper into Kupp’s field intelligence by pointing out how the five-year veteran is cerebral enough to know what defenses will throw pre-snap.
“It’s been great. He’s one of the smartest guys I’ve played with. His understanding of this offense and what defenses are trying to do is pretty special and something that as a quarterback, it’s pretty fun to have a guy out there that’s thinking and seeing the game the same way that you are. That’s a special trait of his, something that I know he’s worked extremely hard on and we’re just trying to have dialogue. Some of these routes are his choice or are we seeing the Mike change the coverage? So we’re just trying to sit there and as we’re watching other guys go, talk about what we might’ve done in that situation and what he would expect from me and what I would expect from him. Just constantly trying to make sure we’re on the same page and able to execute.”
Kupp and Stafford Labeled a Top 10 Duo for 2021
Stafford’s arrival to Los Angeles has generated lots of buzz during this offseason period. But one longtime NFL writer said on June 2 that there’s another reason to look forward to Stafford in a Rams uniform: Connecting with Kupp for 17 games.
Gil Brandt of nfl.com, who has more than five decades of working in an NFL setting including once serving as vice president of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys, placed Stafford and Kupp as the 10th best quarterback/receiver duo for the upcoming season. Brandt wrote:
“Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods were among the NFL’s more productive receivers when catching passes from Jared Goff. The Rams are hoping that a QB with Matthew Stafford’s passing ability will help the pair hit even greater heights. Of the two of them, I have an especially positive inkling about Kupp to thrive as the passing attack bounces back from a relatively down year.”
The ‘9 and 10’ connection already worked in unison during this one social media buzz worthy video during OTA’s, which saw Kupp adjust to the ball and execute the one-handed grab.
Kupp Has Another Good Omen With Stafford
For anyone who has followed Stafford’s career in the Motor City, his top target and final reception leader is often a 6-foot-2 WR or taller. Kupp himself is 6-foot-2.
Last season, Marvin Jones led the Lions with 76 receptions for 978 yards and nine touchdowns. Stafford targeted him at a team-high of 115 passes thrown to Jones.
In 2019, 6-foot-4 wideout Kenny Golladay led the Lions with 65 catches on 116 targets, accumulating 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns, both team highs. Golladay also led the Lions in receptions, yards and targets the previous season.
Of course, NFL fans can never forget the collaboration Stafford had with “Megatron.” Both Stafford and Calvin Johnson Jr. connected on 56 touchdowns from 2009 to 2015.
Kupp will be aiming for his third consecutive 90-catch season with a new signal-caller. The former Eastern Washington Eagle has collected a combined 186 receptions the last two seasons.