Rams receiver Cooper Kupp quickly getting 'back in the groove'

IRVINE, Calif. –- It did not take Cooper Kupp long to stand out at Los Angeles Rams camp and show flashes of a former Offensive Player of the Year.

On the second day of camp Thursday, Kupp was busy, catching passes all over the field, including one he tipped to himself in traffic for a long touchdown from Matthew Stafford.

“This is my second day running full speed, like competitive stuff,” Kupp said after practice at the University of California, Irvine. “Being camp, things feel fast, like they're just moving a little faster than you're used to. But man, even just from the first day to second day, things definitely [starting to feel] like, OK, now we're back into the groove.

“Seeing things and being able to react off them. So it's going to be a process. … Obviously, I haven't done it since November, so it's been a while. But it'll come back fast.”

Kupp is making his way back from a high right ankle sprain suffered in Week 10 of the 2022 season that required surgery. He had 75 receptions for 812 yards and six touchdowns in nine games and the Rams finished 5-12 with injuries to Kupp, Stafford and defensive lineman Aaron Donald, among many other Rams.

Kupp, 30, is hoping to return to the prolific OPOY level that saw him finish with 145 receptions for 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2021.

“It feels good,” Kupp said of his ankle. “That's a long time [to be out]. I think the last time I [came back from such a long layoff] was basically coming off of the ACL [injury] in '18 to '19. Man, [it’s] great being back out here playing football again.”

Stafford hooked up with Kupp for a couple of long touchdowns on Thursday to the delight of the crowd on hand.

“It's great having him out here,” Stafford said on Wednesday after the first practice. “It's great having a lot of guys that kind of ended the season either banged up or had a little bit of an abbreviated season last year. So it's nice to have him out here.”

Stafford and Kupp looked like they were back on the same page, which will be trouble for opposing defenses this season.

“That's been kind of the weird but really cool thing,” Kupp said of his timing with Stafford. “It's kind of felt like that from the first time he was here in ‘21. It was just like that in OTAs, it just kind of clicked. We were able to throw together a little bit in July and it just felt like first time back, timing was just right there … it's just kind of very natural.”