When you have an offense as bad as the Los Angeles Rams offense was last year, you’ve gotta go above and beyond to fix it. Now, of course the Rams have done exactly that. From major free agent signings, to a blockbuster trade, to the hiring of a young offensive genius, and drafting new weaponry..... But I urge you, please don’t forget about second year WR and KR Pharoh Cooper.
As a fourth-round rookie, Pharoh Cooper barely got to see the field. He worked his way to a 14 reception and 106 yard season, largely un-impressive. For whatever reason the old coaching staff refused to give him playing time, and when they did (towards the end of the year), they were rarely creative enough to allow Cooper’s skill-set to thrive.
With the addition of offensive genius Sean McVay, I truly believe Cooper has a chance to start to reach his ceiling. First, Pharoh looks like a transformed player, and we’ll jump into that soon. Also, Coach McVay has already shown an ability to feature players in their preferred roles, and that absolutely applies to Cooper.
On this play, Pharoh Cooper comes from the left side of the formation out of the bunch and motions to the wide right spot. Right off the snap he has an advantage as he’s still moving a bit, and that allows him to build up speed quickly and get off the LOS with a completely free release. Most impressively, Cooper sets the DB up on his outside shoulder, and plants a hard cut across his face to the middle of the field. He secures the catch and easily converts the third and two.
In the same game, Pharoh is running a speed out and finds himself with worlds of space. He found the empty space on the field, he secures the catch, and then he turns up field to gain extra yardage and once again, moves the chains.
Now onto the second game vs the Oakland Raiders. Pharoh is once again in motion, this time from the left side of the field to the right, lined up on the inside of the bunch formation. With the two guys outside of him running vertical, they clear out major space for Pharoh to once again run a dangerous speed out. Again, he converts a third down, and even with a bad placement on the pass, he secures it and takes the hit.
Same game, Pharoh is lined up in the slot on the left side of the formation. This isn’t anything special, but he easily beats the CB who gives him plenty of space off the LOS. The out seems to be becoming a staple of his offensive repertoire, and falling down he secures the catch.
On this play Pharoh Cooper is lined up in the slot on the right side of the formation. His hesitation step right off the LOS has the CB clueless as to where he’s headed. With the CB slowly opening up his hips the wrong way, Cooper plants and drives hard off his outside foot to create instant separation across the middle of the field on a slant. He manages to secure the catch, gets blasted, and still held onto the ball. Oh, and that was another third down conversion.
That’s all the video I got for now. Clearly Pharoh Cooper has worked on his route running ability this offseason, because for a guy who lacks elite athleticism that’s where he’ll live in this league. He won’t be a deep threat, nor a guy who’s winning jump balls 30 yards downfield, but he absolutely has a role. Targets will be hard to come by in this offense with how many weapons the front office have added, and honestly, so will playing time. But as a short-intermediate yardage WR who’s tough, runs strong routes, and has a good set of hands, Pharoh Cooper absolutely continues to make noise.