Chicago Bears: How Cooper Kupp injury has affected Rams offense
The Chicago Bears face a tough matchup in the Los Angelas Rams on Sunday. However, the offense has been a bit easier to defend since the loss of Cooper Kupp
The Los Angelas Rams offense has seemingly been unstoppable. However, they are not currently running on full cylinders with the injury of Cooper Kupp. While it has not shown on the scoreboard, and they were able to put up points in waves against the Kansas City Chiefs the underlying numbers show that this is a slightly different team without Cooper Kupp.
With that in mind wins against the Chiefs and Lions defenses are not quite real tests for a new offense. Against the Chicago Bears they will get that test
The first thing to note is that the Rams offense has been more explosive with Cooper Kupp on the sidelines. Their explosive play percentage has risen over 3%. That can come down to the opponents as mentioned. It can also come down to Josh Reynolds, who has almost solely stepped into his spot in the lineup.
Reynolds is a player who profiles similarly to Marvin Jones, while Cooper Kupp is a slot receiver who can block and work the middle of the field. They are different stylistically.
This can show with Reynolds having an 11.9 average depth of target. Cooper Kupp has an 8.7 average depth of target. Deep balls are coming to Reynolds, and with three touchdowns, he is providing on them.
On top of that, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods have seen increases in their average depth of target. While it makes sense for Reynolds, this likely feels more correlated to the Kansas City game.
While they have been more explosive without Kupp, they have not been more efficient, and that could end up being where the Bears find their success. When Kupp was on the field, they had a 61% success rate through the air and a 60% success rate on the ground. That number drops to 49% in each category without him.
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It is surprising to see the numbers so consistently even when he is on and off of the field. However, when you think of the Sean McVay offense, and how on schedule it stays, this may make sense that one chink slows down the entire operation.
The question then becomes how does this happen?
The offense lacks versatility when Kupp is not in the lineup. With Kupp in the lineup, all three Rams receivers can move in and out of the slot. The Rams run the same personnel 98% of the time, and they shift where the three receivers lineup and they take advantage.
However, Josh Reynolds does not line up in the slot. He is a downfield threat who takes the outside. With that in mind, Robert Woods went from a player who lined up in the slot 32% of the time to a player who lines up in there 62% now.
The most significant impact off of that has come sacks. With less movement and versatility in alignments comes less playcalling possibilities. It also takes Kupp, a respectable blocker off of the field.
The Rams do a great job of using Kupp in-line, almost as a tight end to freeze the pass rush, and also spring him free against linebackers.
While Robert Woods is a good blocker, the Rams sack rate has gone up from 3.2% to 10.1% without Kupp. While this is not a direct indictment on Woods it a representation of everything presented.
The Chicago Bears will be the best defense the Cooper Kupp-less Rams get to see. It will be interesting to see if the Bears can get to the quarterback and show that he is a true missing piece.