THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp said this week he's been "blessed" to play alongside some "incredible" receivers in his career.
In Year 7, that trend has continued, especially with the emergency of rookie Puka Nacua.
"It's been so much fun," Kupp said. "I learn from so many guys. I've been joking with him. He keeps coming up to me and asking me how to run routes. I'm like, 'Puka if you ask me to run the route, like, you tell me how you want to run the route. I'm trying to learn how you just did that.' There's a give and take there and he's been great. It's fun to play off of guys and just see guys play games and come from different backgrounds and have different tools."
Los Angeles' offense got its first sampling of the possibilities with that duo on the field last Sunday against the Eagles, with promising early returns.
Kupp looked like himself with eight catches for 118 yards to lead L.A.'s receivers, and Nacua had a productive game in his own right with seven catches for 71 yards and one touchdown.
The two of them commanded the bulk of quarterback Matthew Stafford's targets as well. Out of 37 pass attempts, Kupp yielded 12 targets and Nacua 11.
In a season that has drawn comparisons to 2018, seeing a receiver wearing the number 17 making plays alongside Kupp elicits yet another callback.
"They are very similar," Kupp said, when asked how he would compare and contrast Nacua and former Rams wide receiver Robert Woods. "They're playing the same position. His game is real similar to Robert. Different than Robert… I thought he had I think a little more track speed to him. Like he could move…not that Puka's not fast enough. That's all you need, to be fast enough. I mean their games are real similar, slasher mindset, physical, tough mentality. All that stuff is there. I think you see that reflected. I think it's both a part of our room. This is what the expectation is to come in to be a part of the room here and what the expectations are and how you play the game. Puka's done a great job embodying that and then letting it go on the field."
Nacua has said before that when Kupp is on the field, it's like having an extra coach out there. So when asked postgame for his takeaway from playing alongside Kupp for the first time in a game, it wasn't a surprise to hear him say the game "comes really easily, just flows kind of naturally."
"Being able to ask questions and see what the coverage is and what we were expecting the game before the game, what we had talked about during the week, happened before our eyes because No. 10 was out there," Nacua said.
It's been only one game so far, which means there's always going to be room for improvement, and more chances to come up with ways to utilize Kupp and Nacua. That being said, McVay was pleased with the job both of them did in their first game on the field together.
"I thought they both did a nice job," McVay said. "I think there's always going to be room for improvement. But whether they complement each other or not, they're two really good football players that we feel good about having and we've got to continue to do a good job utilizing their skills."