Will OBJ’s presence disrupt Cooper Kupp’s historic pace?

Tennessee Titans v Los Angeles Rams
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On Sunday night, Rams receiver Cooper Kupp joined Jerry Rice as the only receivers to ever generate more than 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in the first nine games of a season.

The effort in the loss to the Titans gave Kupp 1,019 yards for the season. That puts him on pace or 1,924 yards, only 40 short of Calvin Johnson’s single-season record of 1,964. (Johnson, of course, did it in 16 games.)

The formula may change with the arrival of Odell Beckham Jr. With all the discussion about whether OBJ will get his touches, the separate question is whether OBJ’s opportunities will eat into Kupp’s.

On Friday’s PFT Live, Peter King explained that coach Sean McVay told Beckham that quarterback Matthew Stafford will throw the ball to the open man. That message from McVay grossly oversimplifies the manner in which NFL offenses work. It’s not a situation in which four or five receivers run patterns and the quarterback decides who is and isn’t open.

There’s a progression for the quarterback in each play, and the receivers know what it is. How many players will have Kupp as the first option? How many will be designed for Robert Woods? For Van Jefferson? For OBJ?

Plenty of plays specifically are crafted for one specific player, drawn up so that he will be open and will get the ball. On top of that, jet sweeps and bubble screens definitely will put the football in the possession of one specific player.

As former Rams and current Browns safety John Johnson III said earlier this week, the L.A. offense runs through Cooper Kupp. With OBJ there, will that change?

Beckham seems to accept the fact that he’s going to be a cog in a much larger machine. If he’s going to play for the Rams, that’s exactly what he needs to do. But Kupp, Woods, and Jefferson definitely will be impacted by the presence of Beckham. They’ll say all the right things with Beckham joining the team, because what other choice do they have? It bears watching all of them — starting with Kupp — now that Beckham may be impacting the zero-sum game that comes from the fact that there’s still only one ball.

23 responses to “Will OBJ’s presence disrupt Cooper Kupp’s historic pace?

  1. “Beckham seems to accept the fact that he’s going to be a cog in a much larger machine.”
    He seemed to accept this in Cleveland too.

  2. Guaranteed that OBJ will whine about being “disrespected” when he doesn’t get the ball as much as he wants.

    He’s always been a distraction and a cancer, and I’m relieved the Packers didn’t bring him aboard.

  3. Stafford leans on Kupp as much as any QB has leaned on one WR this year. If his production drops, it’s probably because teams finally started consistently double teaming him, to this point they haven’t been.

    It’s more likely Woods and Van Jefferson see their numbers dip, but probably not much. OBJs reputation has exceeded his on the field impact for years now.

  4. They’ll throw him the ball. But when it’s a 3rd or 4th down and he drops a routine catch, the ball will eventually go elsewhere. This is why Baker never threw him the ball. It’s like the guy can only make circus catches.

  5. Kupp reminds of Miles Austin from years ago. Came onto the scene after a few decent years and then he was a force for about a 3 year stretch and then he fizzled out. Not saying Kupp is but he definitely reminds me of Austin.

  6. The probelm with Odell Beckham jr.(besides his attitude)is his terrible,uncrisp and disjointed route running. The other worldly athleticism and talent has hidden this most important deficiency in his game. QBs throw to certain a spot and Odell doesn’t get there…much like why Cordarrelle Patterson has never been able to stick with a team.

  7. Cupp will make a nice number 2 receiver. OBJ will be the best receiver in football by the end of the season. He’s never had a good team, good coach or good quarterback. Now he has all those things.

  8. I think there are several here.

    Stafford is a vastly more experienced QB than Mayfield is and he also sees his window at winning an SB closing. He isn’t screwing things up to keep OBJ happy, he’ll throw it to where the play is supposed to go or his next best option.

    The Rams were winning without OBJ, if he starts screwing things up McVay is a good enough coach to point to the end of the bench and say “Go child and sit”. And if the Rams were smart about the contract they owe him very little if they have to cut him.

    NFL defenses are no longer afraid of OBJ so they aren’t reducing their coverage of Kupp to cover him. However OBJ is still good enough to get open if he’s being covered by the other team’s 3-4 pass defenders. So he should get some opportunities at the expense of the other guys.

    He had better not screw things up or this will be his last real opportunity.

    The Rams are kind of sitting pretty here. They don’t need OBJ to get to the playoffs as they were on their way there without him. If they structured the contract appropriately he is a till-end-of-season show me rental who can be dumped if it doesn’t work out. If he learned his lesson (doubtful) he could (COULD it’s up to him) be an asset.

    Personally I would have kept DeSean Jackson before signing OBJ. Jackson at least seems to have learned his lesson.

  9. It would be one thing if you were getting the 2016 version of OBJ. You’re not getting anywhere near that caliber of player. That player is long gone. Injuries have taken a major toll. He was single covered in Cleveland for the most part and still didn’t make an impact, and no it wasn’t Mayfield’s fault. This signing can only go bad. If he’s willing to be a good teammate and be the 2nd or 3rd option and catch 3 or 4 balls a game then maybe it works.

  10. There will be a 3 or 4 week honeymoon and then OBJ will be asking his dad and LeBron to start another social media destruction campaign. This time focused of Stafford and Kupp. Nothing about this signing will be good for the Rams. He needs a top-tier QB not afraid to set him straight and it’s hard to tell if Stafford is that guy.

  11. Cooper Kupp would be the first one to tell you his goal is to win the super bowl. Whatever else happens, happens. I’d think Beckham would take a couple weeks before he can get half the playbook down, and then he’d be an insurance policy in case any of the other guys get hurt. One of the best plays I’ve seen all year is the deep ball being underthrown, and then the WR comes back toward the ball and initiates contact with the DB. They’ll eventually change that rule, but in the mean time, they’re penalizing the DB. I could see Beckham running that play, and maybe a couple other things downfield.

  12. If you would have asked me last week what I thought the absolute worst landing spot for OBJ would have been, the Rams would have been near the top of the list. It’s the perfect combination of They Don’t Need Him and He Will Hate Being There.

    You think they are taking targets away from Cooper Kupp? Robert Woods? How many balls do they plan on playing with?

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