As the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare to face off in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, both sides are doing deep dives into their opponents. With that, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians got an even closer look at Cooper Kupp.
The Rams’ success this season can largely be attributed to Kupp. The slot receiver had one of the most productive seasons of all time, accumulating 145 catches, 1,947 yards, and 16 touchdowns, all of which led the NFL this season. So any scouting report on the Rams offense is going to start with him.
Arians was hugely complimentary of Kupp, comparing him to Buccaneers receiver Chris Godwin. He then had a bold declaration regarding both players, according to Stu Jackson of TheRams.com:
“He’s one of the best,” Arians said of Kupp, who had nine catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns in Week 3. “I think he and (Bucs wide receiver) Chris Godwin, to me, are the best all-around receivers in the league because they block, they do everything – inside, outside. They’re very comparable, and you know how I think about Chris. Cooper, he’s a challenge. You can’t double team him all day, that’s for sure – they have too many other weapons. You just have to own up your guy and fight him. He’s a hard tackle just like Chris is.”
Kupp has long been praised for his willingness to block in the open field, sometimes even being used as a de-facto tight end in run-blocking schemes. In terms of versatility, very few receivers can do as much as Kupp does, and it’s arguable the same could be said for Godwin.
Sadly, the Rams will not see Godwin in their win-or-go-home rematch of Week 3. Godwin tore his ACL in the back-end of the regular season and will be out until the beginning of the 2022 season.
The Buccaneers will absolutely face Kupp, however, and it’s to be expected that much of their defensive gameplan revolves around limiting the Rams top target. If there was any doubt before, it was cleared up once Arians referred to him as one of the league’s most complete receivers.
Eric Weddle hoping to break winless streak against Tom Brady
While Arians and the Buccaneers defense prepares for Kupp, the Rams defense is preparing for Tom Brady. Eric Weddle, who returned to the Rams during Wild Card Weekend after a two-year retirement, is specifically hoping to secure his first win against Brady.
Weddle admitted — when discussing the Buccaneers offense — that he doesn’t believe he ever defeated Brady in a game. If that can change on Sunday, it means the Rams are heading to the NFC Championship Game.