The Los Angeles Rams have built a talented receiving corps for head coach Sean McVay and quarterback Jared Goff by trading for Brandin Cooks, signing Robert Woods in free agency and drafting Cooper Kupp.
While Cooks had already proven himself a reliable pass-catcher on the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots before landing with the Rams, Woods did not see his career blossom until he returned home to Southern California. Kupp, meanwhile, was an unheralded third-round pick before developing into one of the NFL’s best slot receivers.
All three get their fair share of targets in McVay’s egalitarian offense. None of them fit a true WR1 status, but all three share a close bond that plays out on social media, in the locker room and most importantly, on the field.
The selflessness of the trio and the Rams’ roster as a whole is at least partially the result of the “We Not Me” culture installed by McVay since he took over in 2017. It stands in stark contrast to the Cleveland Browns, their Week 3 opponent. The Browns already had a strong personality in quarterback Baker Mayfield, then added one of the NFL’s most notable divas by trading for superstar receiver Odell Beckham Jr. last offseason.
While the Browns’ duo of Beckham and fellow Pro Bowler Jarvis Landry is formidable, McVay seems to prefer the attitude of his three top receivers instead, per Lindsey Thiry of ESPN:
“They’re as selfless a group as I’ve ever been around,” McVay said. “They play hard for one another, they play hard for their teammates. They compete with and without the ball.”
The Rams signed Woods and drafted Kupp before the 2017 season, Goff’s first with McVay after floundering under previous head coach Jeff Fisher in his rookie season. While McVay gets plenty of deserved credit for helping turn around Goff’s career, Woods and Kupp–along with Cooks last year–have helped turn their quarterback into a perennial Pro Bowler.
While Goff appreciates the talent of his receivers, he also had high praise for their selfless mentality:
“They are all just extremely hard workers and understand a bigger goal,” Goff said. “One guy goes for 150 [yards] and one guy has one catch and the one guy with one catch couldn’t care. If we win the game, he doesn’t care at all about the numbers.”
The Rams’ and new-look Browns’ contrasting cultures will be on full display in a major test for both playoff hopefuls on Sunday Night Football.
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