Rams McVay Admits Mistake Playing Kupp Late; WR Status vs. Bucs?

Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay provided an update on All-Pro receiver Cooper Kupp, who suffered an ankle injury late in the team’s loss 31-14 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

The phrase “I do” is often heavily loaded with emotions, but when the two words left Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay‘s lips on Monday afternoon, relief overtook all other feelings.

The 36-year-old McVay has already had his time at the altar, so what was the topic of discussion at the podium just one day after the Rams’ 31-14 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers?

Star receiver Cooper Kupp’s injury status – to which McVay’s “I do” revealed that he anticipates the All-Pro to be able to play in Sunday’s upcoming road contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a rematch of last year’s NFC Divisional Round in which Los Angeles prevailed 30-27 en route to the Super Bowl title.

Kupp went down with an ankle injury after catching a screen pass late in the fourth quarter of the loss to San Francisco. Fortunately for McVay – who later admitted to regretting the play call – Los Angeles seems to have dodged a bullet.

“(It’s) just a little lateral soft tissue swelling in that ankle,” McVay shared. “I think he’s going to be okay. You guys know how tough he is and so just managing that swelling, but fortunately, there wasn’t anything structurally wrong, so that’s very positive news for us.”

Kupp’s injury scare came right as the Rams were beginning to get closer to full health, with fellow receiver Van Jefferson making his season debut against San Francisco, and center Brian Allen and safety Troy Hill being activated from injured reserve in advance of the contest.

Sitting at 3-4 following Sunday’s loss, the Rams can’t afford to lose Kupp, who ranks second in the NFL in receptions (64), third in yards after catch (342), and fifth in receiving yards (686). Additionally, he’s responsible for five of Los Angeles’ seven receiving touchdowns and has more than double the yards of the next closest Ram (tight end Tyler Higbee, 312).

Considering the impact that Kupp has on the Rams’ offense, McVay was the target of criticism for keeping the reigning Triple Crown Winner on the field with the game well out of reach. Los Angeles’ Super Bowl-winning coach explained the decision Monday while adding that he wouldn’t do it again if given the chance.

“I followed up with Kupp right away,” McVay began. “I just said, ‘That felt like that was the best chance to just be able to try to end the game on a quick-hitting screen.’ I was trying to play it safe. In hindsight, if you said, ‘Would you do it differently?’ A hundred percent I would.”

It didn’t take much time for McVay to want his decision back, which he admitted to Kupp as the wideout was down on the turf at SoFi Stadium.

“I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I would do that one differently if I had a chance to do it again and not even leave him possibly exposed to that hit,” McVay said. “We didn’t have to wait long – I said that to him right away when I walked out on the field to see him.”

For the time being, the Rams appear to have gotten away with one – for now. In a year where little has gone right on the injury front, an elongated absence for Kupp would be a devastating blow. Instead, the incident serves as a valuable learning lesson for McVay, who surely felt a different type of relief with this “I do” than his last one.

Moving forward, McVay will look to carry all of his lessons to Tampa Bay, with a healthy Kupp right alongside him.

You can follow Daniel Flick on Twitter at @DFlickDraft

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