Is Rams’ Puka Nacua another Cooper Kupp? Why is Chargers’ D still failing?

Rams rookie receiver Puka Nacua (17) has emerged with record-setting performances in the first two weeks of his pro career. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

Although the Rams did not beat the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers, they put up quite a fight in a 30-23 defeat. The Chargers, on the other hand, lost another game they easily could have won with some clutch play, losing to the Tennessee Titans on the road, 27-24, in overtime. Rams beat writer Gary Klein, Chargers beat writer Jeff Miller, NFL columnist Sam Farmer and columnist Bill Plaschke discuss what happened and upcoming prospects:

No NFL rookie has caught 10 or more passes and surpassed 100 yards receiving in each of their first two games besides the Rams’ Puka Nacua. How does he compare to Cooper Kupp when everyone was excited about his emergence?

Klein: Remember, Cooper Kupp was drafted onto Sean McVay’s first team with the Rams in 2017. No one knew what to expect from any of the players in the young coach’s offense. Kupp, a third-round pick, was the third wheel behind Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins. He had 12 targets, seven catches and one touchdown in his first two games. Nacua is taking advantage of the opportunity Kupp’s absence, and McVay’s play design, has presented. He has 35 targets and 25 catches in two games.

Farmer: The comparisons between the gritty Puka Nacua and the out-of-nowhere Cooper Kupp are inevitable and valid. Nacua is taking full advantage of his opportunity on a team that really has no clear-cut No. 1 or 2 receiver. He was targeted 20 times on Sunday, something that has only happened to Kupp once in his career. In his rookie season, Kupp was never targeted more than 11 times in a game. As well as Nacua has played, the jury is still out on whether he’s as precise a route runner or has the mastery of concepts and the overall offense that compares to Kupp, even in Kupp’s early years.

Plaschke: It’s impossible to watch Puka Nacua and not think of Cooper Kupp. Tough…

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Author : LA Times

Publish date : 2023-09-19 11:00:46

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