Will OBJ’s presence disrupt Cooper Kupp’s historic pace?

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On Sunday night, Rams receiver Cooper Kupp joined Jerry Rice as the only receivers to ever generate more than 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in the first nine games of a season.

The effort in the loss to the Titans gave Kupp 1,019 yards for the season. That puts him on pace or 1,924 yards, only 40 short of Calvin Johnson’s single-season record of 1,964. (Johnson, of course, did it in 16 games.)

The formula may change with the arrival of Odell Beckham Jr. With all the discussion about whether OBJ will get his touches, the separate question is whether OBJ’s opportunities will eat into Kupp’s.

On Friday’s PFT Live, Peter King explained that coach Sean McVay told Beckham that quarterback Matthew Stafford will throw the ball to the open man. That message from McVay grossly oversimplifies the manner in which NFL offenses work. It’s not a situation in which four or five receivers run patterns and the quarterback decides who is and isn’t open.

There’s a progression for the quarterback in each play, and the receivers know what it is. How many players will have Kupp as the first option? How many will be designed for Robert Woods? For Van Jefferson? For OBJ?

Plenty of plays specifically are crafted for one specific player, drawn up so that he will be open and will get the ball. On top of that, jet sweeps and bubble screens definitely will put the football in the possession of one specific player.

As former Rams and current Browns safety John Johnson III said earlier this week, the L.A. offense runs through Cooper Kupp. With OBJ there, will that change?

Beckham seems to accept the fact that he’s going to be a cog in a much larger machine. If he’s going to play for the Rams, that’s exactly what he needs to do. But Kupp, Woods, and Jefferson definitely will be impacted by the presence of Beckham. They’ll say all the right things with Beckham joining the team, because what other choice do they have? It bears watching all of them — starting with Kupp — now that Beckham may be impacting the zero-sum game that comes from the fact that there’s still only one ball.

Will OBJ’s presence disrupt Cooper Kupp’s historic pace? originally appeared on Pro Football Talk