Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp is quick to credit the playcalling bona fides of his head coach, Sean McVay.
“He comes up with plays all the time,” Kupp said of McVay, 36, in a recent interview with The Post.
Kupp, the reigning AP Offensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl MVP, has been on the sidelines with McVay since 2017, when the receiver was drafted 69th overall. Though much time has passed between then and now, Kupp, 28, can still recall early schemes highlighting McVay’s creativity, including a Week 4 tilt against the Vikings on “Thursday Night Football” in 2018.
“It was a deep pass to me down the right sideline,” Kupp recalled. “Lined up on the left side, came across like I was blocking, and then was running and [Vikings linebacker] Anthony [Barr] wound up having to guard me down the right sideline.”
The tale of the tape illustrates how “wide open” would be insufficient in describing the separation Kupp achieved on that touchdown reception, which could be why — several years later — that moment sticks out in his mind.
Much like a good magician, however, Kupp declined to elaborate on the magic behind his on-field tricks.
“That’s what I can’t tell you. I can’t tell you how we manipulated the coverage,” said Kupp, who spoke on behalf of Pataday Once Daily Relief Extra Strength, a medication he uses to provide eye allergy itch relief.
“I can’t tell you the secrets of what we were trying to do. We might want to do it again. It’s hard to find one example of ‘This was Sean being a genius’ because a lot of that stuff, I feel like other teams haven’t even figured it out yet.”
As far as preparation goes, Kupp broke down the duties of the coaching staff compared to the obligations of an athlete, as far as film study goes.
“There’s a responsibility on the coaches to give you the tools to see what defenses are doing against you, and they go over it by down and distance what you can anticipate seeing,” Kupp said.
“But there’s also a responsibility as a player to then be able to go out there and do it. There’s a lot of things going through your head when you get the play call and line up. While you’re trying to figure out how to execute your job, you’re also trying to figure out how to anticipate what the defense is giving you. That allows you to do your job a little bit quicker. There’s a responsibility for diagnosing what the defense is giving you, and executing the way you’re supposed to. As a player, I take a lot of pride, I think it helps me create separation because I want to know what the defense is doing. I might not know until the snap, but once the snap happens, I’ll intrinsically know, like ‘Boom, these are where the spots are going to be that I need to get to.’”
Though the Rams lost a few members of their receiving corps this offseason — Robert Woods and Odell Beckham Jr. specifically — the team added former Bears wideout Allen Robinson in free agency.
Kupp is already singing his new teammate’s praises, noting how Robinson’s role could contrast compared to that of Beckham, who remains a free agent, and Woods, who landed with the Titans.
“Every receiver brings different attributes that they’re elite at. A-Rob has for years been an elite talent at contested catches. Over and over again, he’s shown an ability to make some incredible plays over guys. He also has an elite trait that has not been utilized to the utmost of his potential in his ability to double guys up, work the middle of the field and run the short and intermediate routes and create separation,” Kupp said.
“For me it’s more about allowing some of the stuff he can to do come to life. The way we run our offense, there’s so much that he can do in a similar fashion to what Woods and Beckham Jr. were able to do. Those guys were sent down the field vertically, but they also ran a lot of stuff underneath. It’s pretty special. Robert had some other stuff, where we handed him the ball and let him run. Odell, we got down the field running away from people, because he had that twitch. Allen will be similar. I’m very excited for him. I think he’s gonna have a great year.”