The Arizona Cardinals take on the Los Angeles Rams this Sunday afternoon at State Farm Stadium. Both teams are 1-1. The Rams have beaten the Cardinals in 10 of the last 11 meetings.
Playing the Rams is difficult because they have one of the best receivers in the NFL in Cooper Kupp.
He is a special talent because he is nearly impossible to defend.
Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph spoke to reporters Thursday and detailed how tough it is to limit Kupp’s production.
Part of it is the Rams’ scheme and part of it is just how talented and smart he is.
The Rams make it hard to focus on Kupp.
“They have so many formations,” Joseph said Thursday. “They move him so much. He’s in the backfield. They’re in so many tight formations. It’s tough to match a guy when he’s moving so much, so that’s a tough task.”
As for Kupp’s skill, he really has no weakness.
“He’s very, very good at a lot of things,” Joseph said. “He’s a special player — his body control, his ball skills, his route running, his blocking, his RAC after the catch. He’s strong, he’s big, he’s smart. He’s not lacking anything and the quarterback, he’s in sync with him.”
Kupp is simply hard to defend.
Joseph said his play the last two weeks has been “scary.”
“If you’re playing man, he beats your leverage and he stops on a dime and the ball is thrown on time,” he said. “If you’re playing zone, you have no chance because he gets the zones. He stops in the proper zones.”
It sounds pretty hopeless.
So how do they try and limit him?
“I think mixing it up and sometimes getting close to him, challenging him some, making him beat man to man and sometimes doubling that guy maybe,” he explained. “But rushing the quarterback and blinding him a little bit will help you.”
So if the Cardinals are going to do with Kupp what they were able to do with the Raiders’ Davante Adams, it will take a varied game plan, another monster game from cornerback Byron Murphy and it will take the pass rush affecting Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Seems simple, right?