Cooper Kupp is not just returning to the starting lineup for the Rams.
The second-year receiver will be an honorary team captain for Sunday’s road game against the New Orleans Saints.
Kupp’s grandfather, Jake, who played guard for the Saints from 1968 to 1975, will be part of the coin toss.
“It will be a really cool thing,” Kupp said Friday. “Grandpa’s obviously a huge part of my life and an incredible role model for me growing up. Being able to have him teach me not only just about football and what it takes to pursue your dream, but how to do it with high character and caring for people around you along the way.”
Kupp, who has 30 catches for 438 yards and five touchdowns, was sidelined the last two games because of a knee injury.
Josh Reynolds started in his place and caught two touchdown passes in a Week 8 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
Kupp will rejoin the starting receiver corps that includes Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks.
“You’re talking about a great football player that, extremely trustworthy in crunch time situations or really throughout the course of the game,” coach Sean McVay said of Kupp. “His knowledge, his understanding of what we’re trying to get done, his ability to compete with and without the ball. He’s a special player.
“So, getting somebody like him back that’s had as much production as he has really since he got here last year is going to be big for our offense.”
On Saturday, about 80 miles from New Orleans, No. 1 Alabama will play No. 4 Louisiana State in a Southeastern Conference game at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge.
“It probably will be a good game, but we’ll most definitely come out with a victory,” said Barron, who played at Alabama from 2008-11 and won two national titles under coach Nick Saban.
Whitworth also played for Saban, at LSU, and won a national title in 2003.
“Always have a special place for that guy,” Whitworth said. “At the same time, LSU is your school, so I’ll look forward to seeing those guys represent us as well.”
The McVay effect
In the aftermath of the Cleveland Browns’ firing of head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley, the names of Rams assistants Zac Taylor and Shane Waldron appeared in media reports as possible candidates.
Taylor, the Rams’ quarterbacks coach, and Waldron, the passing game coordinator, said they were humbled by the mentions.
“That’s kind of a byproduct of being in a great place,” Taylor said.
Taylor, 35, was interim offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins in 2015. He also was the offensive coordinator for the University of Cincinnati before joining McVay’s staff as assistant receivers coach in 2017.
“Fortunately, right now I don’t have to worry about that,” he said of the Browns rumors. “We’ve got to win this game — that’s all we’re focused on right now. I’m sure that will come up when it comes up, but right now is not the time.”
Waldron, 39, worked on Bill Belichick’s staff with the New England Patriots and Jay Gruden’s staff with the Washington Redskins before joining McVay’s staff last season as tight ends coach.
“Every assistant coach in this league has aspirations to become a head coach,” Waldron said, adding, “It’s a great thing to have my name in those types of conversations but it doesn’t really affect anything with this week.”
Cornerback Sam Shields did not practice because of illness, McVay said. Shields is questionable for the game. … Rams middle linebacker Cory Littleton is familiar with Saints quarterback Drew Brees. “Another guy I’ve been seeing since I was 9,” said Littleton, who has a photo on his phone of his Pop Warner team from 2004, when they played in The Drew Brees Bowl in San Diego.
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