Heading into Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season, the Rams punter returner was expected to be rookie second-round pick, Tutu Atwell. However, on Sunday night, that wasn't the case.
Instead, receiver Cooper Kupp served as the deep man for the Rams after forcing the Bears to punt. Therefore, questions began to boil — is Kupp the team's punter returner this season?
After all, McVay said weeks ago during training camp following the initial release of the Rams team depth chart that Kupp would not be the punt returner despite him being listed in that role on the team website.
McVay was questioned during his Wednesday media availability regarding the status of the Rams punt returner and he clarified who fans can expect to see as the deep man in situations going forward.
"Tutu (Atwell) is our punt returner," McVay said. "In a normal circumstance and situation, you can expect to see him back there. There just was so many limited opportunities and because of the particular situation, that's why Cooper was back there."
McVay stated that Kupp was the one returning the punt because of the situation it called for. There was no opportunity to return it, so the risk factor was relatively low.
Rams' Wednesday Injury Report for Week 2 vs. Colts
The Rams have released their first injury report ahead of the Week 2 game against the Colts.
Sean McVay Clears up Questions Regarding Rams' Punt Returner
On Wednesday, coach Sean McVay made clear who the Rams' punt returner will be for the 2021 season.
Rams LT Andrew Whitworth Making Donations to Help two Communities
Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth is making a difference in two communities that he holds close to himself.
"It was a safe situation," McVay said. "There wasn't a return possibility for us right there so that's what resulted in him (Kupp) being back there."
Atwell is a rookie with limited experience in returning punts. He only returned four punts all throughout his Louisville college career. Therefore, McVay's trust factor in handling the ball on returns is swayed in favor of Kupp.
Atwell will be the primary punt returner in the weeks ahead. But if a fair catch situation presents itself – similar to the circumstances last Sunday – Kupp could be called upon once again until Atwell gets more reps under his belt and garners more trust.
- Andrew Whitworth Makes Donations to Help two Communities
- Matthew Stafford wins Offensive Player of the Week Honors
- DeSean Jackson to Host New Podcast
- NFC West Roundup: How Each Team Fared in Week 1
- Rams Week 1 Takeaways: How the Defense Performed vs. Bears
Nick Cothrel is the Publisher of Ram Digest. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel.