INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Sunday morning, Rams head coach Sean McVay told FOX Sports' Jay Glazer that wide receiver Cooper Kupp would have "no limitations" against the Eagles.
It very much looked that way at SoFi Stadium.
Making his 2023 season debut, Kupp recorded team-highs of eight catches for 118 yards in Los Angeles' 23-14 loss to Philadelphia.
"It was good," Kupp said. "I mean, I think there's some stuff, just processing, seeing the field, seeing what defenses are doing, and then just being able to react to it, there's a few things that I'm sure I'm going to be looking at tomorrow and just feel like, 'man, this should've happened a little bit faster.' But it did feel good to be out there playing football again."
Where quarterback Matthew Stafford places the ball often depends on pass progression and reads. Like any offensive play, sometimes the targeted player is the designed first or early read, other times a player is targeted because it's simply the quarterback taking what the defense is giving him.
So while it's not immediately clear if targeting Kupp often on the first drive was by design based on the way the first drive was scripted by the Rams' offensive coaching staff, it certainly provided ample opportunities to see how he was feeling as he saw the field for a regular season game for the first time since November 10, 2022 (Week 10 of last season).
Stafford targeted Kupp on six of his first 10 pass attempts, and Kupp caught five of those targets for 56 yards on L.A.'s first offensive series that led to a 3-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to wide receiver Tutu Atwell.
"I thought he did a nice job," Rams head coach Sean McVay said. "I thought he made some critical plays, especially on that first drive where Matthew did an excellent job of being able to get him involved, makes his impact."
By halftime, Kupp had six receptions for 95 yards, highlighted by a 39-yard catch that helped set up Stafford's 22-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Puka Nacua that gave the Rams a 14-10 lead with 32 seconds left until halftime.
"It was great," Stafford said. "I thought he played really well. Proud of him. Happy for him that he's out there, because I know that's what he loves to do, is be out there playing and competing."
Overall, five of Kupp's eight catches went for gains of 11 or more yards on Sunday.
Stafford said the duo had some "decent success" early on in the game, and there were "a couple a plays here or there" as the game went on that they want back. But overall, it was a productive first game back for the NFL's 2021 receiving triple crown winner.
"Love having him back out on the field," Stafford said. "I think everybody did."