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Studying Davante Adams helped Cooper Kupp elevate his game

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – About this time last year, Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp's 11-catch, 145-yard performance against the Buccaneers caught the attention of Packers wide receiver Davante Adams – so much so that Adams offered high praise for Kupp on Twitter.

"Cooper Kupp is the most underrated receiver in the league," Adams wrote.

Kupp later quote-tweeted in reply: "Much love! That Tae Adams film study does wonders. But the guy 1-7 has my vote."

On Sunday at Lambeau Field, both receivers – two of the NFL's most productive this season – will share the field when the Rams take on the Packers in Green Bay (1:25 p.m. pacific time, FOX).

Kupp leads the NFL in receiving yards (1,141) and is tied with Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans for the league-lead in receiving touchdowns (10). Although Adams has five touchdowns so far, his 979 receiving yards ranks third behind the 49ers' Deebo Samuel (994) and Kupp.

"First off, he's one of the best doing it right now," Kupp told after Wednesday's practice. "I don't know if you can argue the best doing it right now, but what he's got going on, just the complete game, from – you want to come up and challenge him, he's got a great release package. You want to play off, he's still got a secondary release in being able to stick people, being able to put his foot in the ground and separate at the top of routes. If you want to give him space, he can do that, he can run past you. He's a very physical guy, he's got great body control. He runs down the field and catches the back-shoulders. He kind of does everything, and in that offense they utilize him, they take advantage of every single thing they can, all of his biggest strengths. He's a really fun receiver to watch. A lot of stuff that we do, some of the combination concepts, some of the things that we do matches up with some of the stuff Green Bay does and (head coach Matt) LaFleur and that offense, and so it's been fun to be able to kind of grab some things from him, some of the tools that he uses, and try to incorporate that a little bit."

Kupp first began studying Adams when he arrived in the NFL as a third-round pick by the Rams in 2017. Kupp said he had seen some of things Adams – a 2014 second-round pick – was doing, but also made it clear that wasn't to suggest he wasn't doing things before. What Kupp appreciates about Adams is the way he has continued to ascend in his career and not become complacent with where he's at, improving every year.

"I got a lot of respect for someone like that, who can perform at a high level year-in and year-out, and just continue to do it," Kupp said. "It's pretty special. It tells you a lot about him and his character, and what he's about as a football player."

Kupp said that "wide receiver is an art form," pointing out, as an example, how Terrell Owens played the game differently than Wes Welker. There are different ways for receivers to separate from their defender. They each have different strengths, different ways to "just get up and make plays."

Tempo is one of the things Adams excels at, and something Kupp tries to incorporate pieces of into his own skillset.

"He plays the game like point guard does basketball, right?" Kupp said. "If you just go full speed all the time, you're an easy cover. But when you're constantly mixing up your tempos, they don't know what to expect. You don't know when that sudden burst is coming, when that stop is coming. It makes it really difficult. He does an incredible job with that, all within staying within the timing and rhythm of the concepts and plays and the rapport he's got with (quarterback) Aaron (Rodgers), who's also great at feeling that kind of stuff out. It makes for a pretty special combination."

Perhaps a jersey swap between the two players will follow after the conclusion of Sunday's game, but the mutual respect between both receivers is already pretty clear.

"That was really cool of him," Kupp said, when asked what it was like to earn that unsolicited recognition from Adams. "Someone that's playing at the top of the game. It was pretty cool to finish up the Bucs game and see that."

Check out photos of Los Angeles Rams players on the practice field ahead of Sunday's matchup against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

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