No. 2: How to Contain Rams Wide Receiver Cooper Kupp?
Jared Goff might be having a tough year, but Rams slot receiver Cooper Kupp isn’t.
Through five weeks, Kupp leads Los Angeles with 505 yards through the air, as do his 41 receptions and four touchdowns. His yardage totals currently rank fourth among all pass catchers, too, which is quite the feat.
Fellow Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks is still working his way through the concussion protocol, although it appears he’s in good shape to play against the 49ers.
While that’s a problem, Kupp is easily the bigger one.
Sean McVay loves to feature Kupp out of the slot, where he can use his shiftiness and excellent footwork to get behind defenders and into the softer spots in zone coverage. San Francisco uses a lot of zone, so it’s not hard to see how a player like Kupp could thrive.
San Francisco’s primary slot-coverage duties have fallen on veteran cornerback K’Waun Williams, who surprisingly owns an 87.0 overall Pro Football Focus grade on the season — good for second among qualifying corners — and managed to intercept Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield in Week 5.
This could be the formula again, as the Rams’ less-than-stellar offensive line will have to contend with what’s been a dynamic 49ers pass rush through four weeks.
Still, Kupp can be a game-changing weapon, and the Niners better have contingency plans to keep him from taking over.