A cup to us non playing mortals is what we drink our Kool-Aid or tea out of. A Kupp to the NFL, and more specifically Jared Goff, is a vessel to check down into; A safe place to put the ball when plays breakdown. This is a fact, like our cups hold water, Goff’s Kupp holds onto catches.
In 2017, Cooper Kupp came into the league as a highly touted, record breaking, 6 foot 2 inches tall, reliable Wide Receiver. Hailing from Eastern Washington, he shined in the Pro Bowl which lead to NFL’s Bucky Brooks to come out and state “Kupp was the top performer at the Senior Bowl”. High praise indeed. The Rams needed help at wide receiver. They needed someone who could help Goff ascend into the star he was meant to be. At pick number 69 in the third round the Rams selected Kupp. He would slide straight into the slot receiver roll, the Y role in the league. The always there, safe hands role.
Jared Goff and the Rams have two very capable receivers in Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks, who have each been excellent this season, but Goff leans on Kupp more than his other wideouts. He’s the safety valve underneath who he can trust to make a play after the catch and gain valuable yardage. Kupp’s 2018 season was over after just eight games played. Kupp suffered a torn ACL. In 2018, Jared Goff had a 134.4 passer rating when targeting Cooper Kupp. Highest passer rating when targeted in the NFL this season through 8 games (Min. 50 targets).
During the first eight games Goff’s stats read:
Touchdowns per game were 2.1.
His completion rating was 67.5%.
He got sacked 2.1 times a game.
Adjusted Yards gained per pass attempt was 9.94 yards***
Cooper Kupp played in these 8 games.
During the last eight games Goff’s stats read:
Touchdowns per game were 1.8
His completion rating was 63.1%
He got sacked 2.0 times a game.
Adjusted Yards gained per pass attempt was 7.62 yards***
Cooper Kupp was on IR during these 8 games.
The stats don’t lie. When Kupp is on the field Goff is better. He finds his targets by 4.4% more. Has 0.3 touchdowns more per game and sacked the same amount of times. Goff’s air yards are much lower without Kupp. This is because when a play breaks down or the Rams go to play action Kupp gets into space and is always filling the dump off hole that Goff needs. The Adjusted Yards gained were down without Kupp by 3.32 yards per attempt. Of Cooper Kupp’s 56 targets, 23 of his 40 receptions went for a first down (41.1%). This show Goff looks his way when the Rams need a first down. His catch percentage is also 71.4% which also shows how effective he is when targeted. It’s in the Red Zone where Kupp makes his mark for the Rams. Goff’s higher touchdown rate when Kupp is on the field is down to his 6 touchdowns off 8 red zone receptions. That alone comes out at 0.75 Touchdowns per game for Kupp and Goff together over the 8 games they played together.
One thing is for sure, the Rams need Cooper Kupp. Not because he is elite, not because he is a monster at wide receiver but because he makes Jared Goff a Quarterback, not a quivering mess who can’t read defender positions before or after the snap and need a safety blanket. That blanket is Cooper Kupp. Would the Rams have won the Super Bowl If Kupp was in the line up? Nobody can say. What we can say is Goff needs Kupp like we need air.
***(Passing Yards + 20 * Passing TD – 45 * Interceptions) / (Passes Attempted)
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