The Los Angeles Rams have been without Cooper Kupp through the first two weeks of the 2023 season as he deals with a hamstring injury.
Shortly before the new season began, the Rams placed Kupp on injured reserve which means he will miss at least the team’s first four games. Having already missed Weeks 1 and 2, Kupp can return in a few weeks for Week 5 and Sean McVay has already said he is hopeful his star wideout will be able to suit up then.
However, the offense has been able to hum along just fine without Kupp as Puka Nacua has established himself as Matthew Stafford’s new favorite target. After an incredible debut where he recorded 10 receptions for 119 yards, Nacua followed it up with a 15 receptions and 147 yards against the San Francisco 49ers.
For his amazing Week 2 showing, Nacua was named the NFL’s Rookie of the Week for Week 2, via NFL345:
— NFL345 (@NFL345) September 21, 2023
Nacua has already looked like a steal for Los Angeles as they were able to select him in the fifth-round of the 2023 NFL Draft due to his injury history. Nacua was impressive during the offseason and training camp and he’s proving that they hype was warranted given how productive he’s been through two weeks.
Although the rookie’s record-setting day came in a loss to the 49ers, it shouldn’t diminish the fact that he looks like a long-term piece for the franchise. Kupp’s return will impact his target share, Nacua’s earned a permanent starting role where he should be a nice complement to the passing game.
With Kupp set to miss at least two more games, Nacua should continue to act as the number one read in the offense on passing downs. While he won’t explode every week, he deserves as many passes as he can handle as he’s been able to keep the offense on schedule.
Sean McVay encouraged despite loss to 49ers, wants young players to learn from it
McVay should be proud of the fact that the Rams are 1-1 through two weeks as they’ve been underdogs in both matchups. The loss to San Francisco stings, but L.A. was competitive throughout most of the afternoon.
McVay has kept a positive attitude as his young roster learns and grows and he remains encouraged about the team’s direction.