This Sunday when the Los Angeles Rams take on the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC Conference title it will be the second time that Sean McVay plays in the final game before the Super Bowl. In 2018, McVay led the Rams on the road to take on the New Orleans Saints led by Drew Brees and won in overtime 26-23. Let’s take the receiver position group for a peek at how the roster has evolved since then.
Cooper Kupp was on the roster in 2018 as a second year starter but was unfortunately injured mid season. Through eight games Kupp had six touchdowns and averaged five receptions and 70 yards per game. The Rams entered the NFC title game without him.
Robert Woods was in his second year with the Rams and was viewed as the number one receiver with him as the veteran to the younger Kupp but working shoulder to shoulder in terms of target priority. Against the Saints he had six receptions for 33 yards. Wood’s story for 2021 is reflective of Kupp’s 2018, as Woods was a pillar of the offense in the first half of the season but incurred a season ending injury midway.
Brandon Cooks was the X receiver or the deep threat of the trio and had seven catches for 107 yards with a longest play of 36 yards in the NFC championship. Cooks was traded after the 2019 season to the Houston Texans.
Josh Reynolds was in his second year and stepped in for the injured Kupp. Against the Saints in 2018, he had four catches for 74 yards. Reynolds was allowed to walk as a free agent after the 2020 season and played for both the Tennessee Titans and the Detroit Lions this season.
This time around, Kupp will play in the Conference Championship, along with Odell Beckham Jr. Van Jefferson would be the third receiver but was held out of practice on Wednesday due to a knee injury. If not Jefferson, rookie Ben Skowronek would likely play in his place.
And now for today’s links:
NFL injury updates, latest league news from Wednesday, Jan. 26 (NFL.com)
Matthew Stafford treating NFC Championship week like a normal week (Rams.com)
Watch: Eric Weddle and Tom Brady had a funny exchange after Rams beat Bucs (RamsWire)
Did the LA Rams just give Tom Brady reasons to retire? (RamblinFan)
NFL teams that can turn it around in 2022: Ravens, Vikings among those set to rebound (NFL.com)
Cap casualties and trade chips: Ten New Orleans Saints players who could be moved this offseason (NFL.com)
New York Giants won’t trade for Deshaun Watson, seek to ‘build an offense around’ Daniel Jones (ESPN)
GM Brandon Beane says Buffalo Bills will learn from ‘painful’ season-ending loss to Kansas City Chiefs (ESPN)