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Two Receiver Artists, Adams and Kupp, Take Center Stage in Showdown

The Rams' Cooper Kupp is dominating like Davante Adams did last season for the Packers.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – On Nov. 23, 2020, the Los Angeles Rams were playing at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night. The Rams won 27-24. Cooper Kupp dominated with 11 catches for 145 yards.

Watching at home, Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams took note and fired off a simple, to-the-point tweet.

Adams and Kupp will be centerpieces of Sunday’s passing games. Last year, Adams led the NFL in catches, yards and touchdowns on a per-game basis. This year, Kupp is leading the NFL in those categories outright with 85 receptions, 1,141 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“I think that people were kind of sleeping on him before,” Adams said this week. “Hopefully, that tweet woke them up a little bit. If not, the year he’s having is definitely doing that. He’s a great player, man. His quarterback always has his eyes over there looking for him, too. That helps him out a lot. They definitely built up a quick little one-two punch over there. It’s fun to watch him. Just like I said with Justin (Jefferson of the Vikings), I hope it’s not that way against our team but it’s definitely fun to watch and see him go out there, have fun and make plays.”

Kupp, who was inactive for last year's play said playing receiver “is an art form.” In that case, they are Rembrandt and Picasso. They can win short. They can win deep. They can win with connection to their quarterback.

A third-round pick in 2017, Kupp has studied Adams’ game. It’s not just the route-running that sticks out to Kupp. Rather, it’s how Adams is arguably the best in the business and yet continues to improve.



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“He’s one of the best doing it right now,” Kupp told “I don’t know if you can argue the best doing it right now, but what he’s got going on, just the complete game, from – you want to come up and challenge him, he’s got a great release package. You want to play off, he’s still got a secondary release in being able to stick people, being able to put his foot in the ground and separate at the top of routes. If you want to give him space, he can do that, he can run past you. He’s a very physical guy, he’s got great body control. He runs down the field and catches the back-shoulders.

“He kind of does everything and, in that offense, they take advantage of every single thing they can, all of his biggest strengths. He’s a really fun receiver to watch. A lot of stuff that we do, some of the combination concepts, some of the things that we do matches up with some of the stuff Green Bay does and (Matt) LaFleur and that offense, and so it’s been fun to be able to kind of grab some things from him, some of the tools that he uses, and try to incorporate that a little bit.”

After catching 11 passes vs. Tennessee in Week 9, Kupp joined Jerry Rice as the only players in the Super Bowl era to record 1,000-plus receiving yards and 10-plus touchdowns through the first nine games of a season. He added 11 more receptions vs. San Francisco before the bye. He’s on a 17-game pace of 145 receptions, 1,940 yards and 17 touchdowns. The records are 149 receptions (New Orleans’ Michael Thomas in 2019), 1,964 yards (Detroit’s Calvin Johnson in 2012) and 23 touchdowns (Randy Moss, 2007).

In the Super Bowl era, only three players won the “Receiving Triple Crown.” Had he not missed two-and-a-half games with a hamstring injury last year, Adams might have joined Rice (1990), Sterling Sharpe (1992) and Steve Smith (2005) as the only players to lead the NFL in receptions, yards and touchdowns in the same season. This year, Kupp leads the NFL in receptions by one (over Tyreek Hill), yards by 147 (over Deebo Samuel) and is tied in touchdowns (with Mike Evans). He’s caught at least seven passes for 92 yards in nine of his 10 games.

“He’s one of those guys, you hear it and it’s not cliché with this kid, he literally is the first person in the building and the last person to leave,” said Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry, who spent the 2017 through 2020 seasons alongside Kupp. “I can still remember nights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays where it’s 8 o’clock at night and I might walk down to the cafeteria and I see someone in the meeting room and I open the door and Cooper’s in there watching tape.

“He’s definitely something to deal with. I really look forward to competing against him.”

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