Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay officially ruled out star wide receiver Cooper Kupp for Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks as he deals with a hamstring injury.
What’s worse is that McVay would not rule out a potential injured reserve stint for the 2021 Offensive Player of the Year – something Rams fans definitely don’t want to see early in the season.
But that’s the reality the Rams are in right now as Kupp continues to assess his hamstring issue that began this offseason. He was in Minnesota on Monday to see a specialist to find the root cause of his hamstring injury.
The reason for visiting the specialist was Kupp suffering a setback with his recovery last week. He remains day-to-day while the Rams figure out what’s plaguing their top pass-catching option.
After a disastrous 2022 campaign, during which Kupp ended up playing just nine games due to an ankle injury, this isn’t what McVay wants to see with his top receiving option.
But as any head coach knows, the cards you’re dealt are what you must play when it’s game day.
“I think you just move forward, and you have to be able to operate with the situation and the guys we do have, and if he’s able to go, then that’s outstanding for us, and if not, then that’s kind of how we’ve been operating,” McVay said this week, per ESPN.
Van Jefferson and Tutu Atwell will be the top receivers for the Rams on Sunday at home while tight end Tyler Higbee may see an uptick in production as he has a solid rapport with quarterback Matthew Stafford.
The Seahawks, led by resurgent quarterback Geno Smith, has a pass-happy offense that produced 23.9 points per game last season. The Rams, after struggling on that side of the ball with Kupp and Stafford injured, were dead last in that department at 18.1 points.
Despite Kupp’s obvious ability to wreck defenses when he’s on the field, McVay doesn’t want the Washington State product to rush back on the gridiron. He wants him 100% healthy so he can perform like the Offensive Player of the Year he was two seasons ago.
“I think the most important thing is that whenever he’s ready to take the field, whether that be this week, whether that be Week 2, whatever it is, as long as he’s able to have that return to performance, he’s feeling like the Cooper Kupp that we all know and love, and he’s got some clarity on, all right, what is really going on? I think that will be a really good situation for us,” McVay said.
Kupp’s hamstring was initially injured on Aug. 1 during a training camp practice. He was on pace to once again be the NFL’s top wideout after he had 812 yards and 75 receptions with six touchdowns in nine games last season prior to his ankle injury.
POST AUTHOR: Scott Thompson