Cooper Kupp immediately became a fan favorite in L.A. when he was selected by the Rams in the third round of the 2017 draft. He was viewed as a steal at that point in the draft and by every measure, he’s proved that sentiment right.
In 23 career games, he already has 102 catches for 1,435 yards and 11 touchdowns. Those numbers are even more impressive when considering he missed half the 2018 season with a knee injury, tearing his ACL in Week 10 against the Seahawks. It was a significant blow to the Rams offense and his absence was felt in their Super Bowl LIII loss.
He’s currently rehabbing his surgically repaired knee and is on track to be ready for training camp. In the premiere of “Behind the Grind” Season 2 – the Rams’ mini-docuseries – we get a behind-the-scenes look at Kupp’s rehab.
The episode also looks back at the Rams’ postseason run to the Super Bowl, the hiring of Wade Phillips’ son, Wes, as their tight ends coach, all the happenings from the NFL combine and more.
Additionally, there are some flashbacks to Sean McVay’s high school days with interviews from friends and his former head coach.
The Los Angeles Rams can’t wait for Cooper Kupp to be healthy enough to return to the lineup for the 2019 season after suffering a torn ACL in 2018.
Back in 2017, the Los Angeles Rams felt confident enough in landing a steal during the NFL Draft when they selected Cooper Kupp, even if there were some concerns over the wideout playing college football at a smaller school in Eastern Washington.
Two years later, and it’s safe to say that most teams across the league wish they took a harder look at Kupp like the Rams did since he’s become quite a reliable option as the No. 3 wideout for the offense.
Unfortunately, Kupp’s sophomore campaign came to an end earlier than expected after he suffered a torn ACL in November, leaving Los Angeles in position where they were forced to rely on Josh Reynolds to help fill the void.
While Reynolds deserves credit for filling in the way he did, and coming through with a few key performances, his impact still wasn’t anywhere close to what Kupp normally brings to the table.
Would the Rams have ended up winning the Super Bowl instead of the New England Patriots if Kupp were healthy enough to play? It’s tough to make the case since Los Angeles looked horrendous on offense during that contest, but also this was another example of just how much they missed Kupp in the passing game.
It’s the three-letter acronym that runs through the middle of the knee and ran through the mind of L.A.’s budding star wide receiver Cooper Kupp after his seven-step post route went wrong as he challenged Seahawks corner Shaquill Griffin into the red zone Week 10.
“ACL is just a term in sports that — everyone knows about it — they know the implications of it,” Kupp said, well-framed and looking just right of the camera in episode one of theRams.com’s Behind the Grind season two.
“Griffin was on the outside, so I kind of tried to burst him vertical because he was kind of sitting on the route, burst him vertical and get him going, and as soon as I put my foot in the ground, he was able to kind of collision me a little bit and — leg hit the ground and it obviously didn’t feel good. Something was wrong.”
Kupp was writhing on the L.A. Coliseum’s turf, accompanied by Rams trainers and his head coach. It wasn’t his aggravated MCL from Week 6 in Denver — it wasn’t a lingering bone bruise.
It was a torn ACL and the end of Kupp’s second professional season. The 9-1 Rams turned to Kansas City on Monday Night Football with their dangerous pass-catching trio of Kupp, Brandin Cooks, and Robert Woods dwindled to a duo. Kupp’s final 2018 statline read: 40 receptions, 566 yards, and a career-high six touchdowns — in eight games.
“So as you go through that moving forward — ‘How can I get this thing right?’” Kupp interrupted himself, before answering with his next breath.
“As you are moving forward, it’s never looking back.”
Four months since his left ACL was surgically repaired, Kupp moves around the Rams’ weight room in Thousand Oaks, Calif. with comfort — almost as if he’s been in the weight room for four months.
He’s taking on the facility’s machinery, dumbbells, and barbells with focus. The 6-foot-2, 208-pound Eastern Washington product has missed out on practices, meetings, game days, and a run at the Lombardi Trophy with his teammates, but he’s hardly left the weight room.
Not long after the non-contact injury in November, Kupp was back to work. He requested workouts from team doctor Reggie Scott and committed to a season with a different brand of teammates in rehabilitation/athletic training assistant Byron Cunningham, and assistant strength and conditioning coach Dustin Woods.
High-energy workouts and upper-body attention have kept Kupp’s football-fueled heart rate pumping and seem to have added to his slot-receiver frame since the November 11th injury. He’s dedicated year two to year three, but at the four-month mark and just a month past Super Bowl LIII, he’s turned a page.
“I feel good. I don’t think we like to talk about being on pace or off pace, ahead or behind or anything like that, but I think I’m where I’m supposed to be,” Kupp said, after decleating for just the third time since mid November. “Now, to get back on the field and put cleats on for the first time since the injury, it feels like it really just kind of refreshes things and gives me some new motivation to be able to go attack this thing.”
“I wouldn’t necessarily say he is on time or on pace. Kupp is right where he needs to be,” Cunningham said after Kupp’s third day running since the injury. “He’s doing a phenomenal job with his rehab. He’s a great listener, pays attention to detail and he’s a hard worker and that makes my job so much easier.”