Milestones, accomplishments, awards, records, and even Super Bowl championships are not something that L.A. Rams receiver Cooper Kupp is necessarily “without” anymore. But that doesn’t mean he can’t keep striving for more and the Rams receiver could be in prime position to soak up so much of Matthew Stafford’s attention this season that 2023 will be an even bigger year than 2021.
Two seasons ago, Kupp won the “triple crown” of receiving by leading the league in catches, yards, and touchdowns. His 145 receptions were the second-best single-season total in NFL history, falling four shy of Michael Thomas’s record set in 2019, but could Kupp be the first player to catch 150 passes in a season?
Cooper Kupp was on pace for 153 catches through 8 games last year. It’s as simple as that when it comes to his upside. As for his floor, it’s injury-based. Right now, he’s on the practice field following a late-season ankle surgery. Kupp should be close to 100% early in camp. He has 1st overall potential, and I don’t think the NFL single-season receptions record is safe either. ... Van Jefferson missed a lot of time last year but has a real role going into this season.
Without a clear second option on the offense, and with defenses unable to contain Kupp against modern passing strategies lately, there’s little we know of holding L.A.’s number one receiver from getting a ton of targets in 2023. Kupp was targeted 191 times in 2021, finishing with 145 catches, 1,947 yards, and 16 touchdowns, but then was targeted 98 times in nine games in 2022.
If Stafford targets Kupp 12 times per game, that would equal 204 over the course of a 17-game season.
Los Angeles Rams team preview is up!— Hayden Winks (@HaydenWinks) June 20, 2023
Let me make something clear...
I don't think the NFL single-season receptions record is safe with Cooper Kupp heading into this year.https://t.co/9D4ulK5cA8
If Kupp catches 77% of those targets (his average over the past three seasons is 75.5%), then that would equal 157 catches. At that rate, Kupp could even challenge for the receptions record in a 16-game season without needing the extra contest which gives him an obvious advantage.
Kupp has averaged 12 yards per catch recently, so that would give him 1,884 yards on the season if he caught 157 passes. But if he had 13 yards per catch, which is less than his rate in 2021, he would be the first receiver in NFL history to go over 2,000 yards.
This is all of course dependent on Kupp’s health, perhaps also Stafford’s health, and how the Rams plan to run their offense in 2023. The fact is that if L.A.’s defense is as bad as it looks on paper given their lack of experience, this could actually benefit Kupp and Stafford’s numbers over the course of the season. The Rams would need high-scoring games, not low-scoring defensive efforts.
Could Cooper Kupp challenge some NFL receiving records in 2023? Obviously. But first, the Rams need to show up to Week 1 in good, healthy condition, and unlike last season, keep that up for 18 weeks.