They make the Rams’ receiving corps one the NFL’s most dynamic and productive units.
Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods each eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving last season, and Cooper Kupp might have done the same had he not suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Kupp’s setback opened the door for Josh Reynolds to showcase his skills.
Now the Rams have more than a high-profile receiving triumvirate. As Woods described it upon his arrival at training camp last month, it is a “four-headed monster” thanks to Reynolds.
“For them to see me in that way,” Reynolds said, “it’s awesome.”
Reynolds, a 2017 fourth-round draft pick from Texas A&M, started eight games last season, and finished with 29 receptions for 402 yards. He caught five touchdown passes, including two in the Rams’ victory over the Green Bay Packers, and two in the regular-season finale against the San Francisco 49ers.
Reynolds’ 19-yard reception in the final two minutes of the NFC championship game against the New Orleans Saints enabled the Rams to keep alive a drive that produced a tying field goal, and an eventual overtime victory that sent them to the Super Bowl.
“You could see no moment is too big for him,” coach Sean McVay said Thursday.
With Kupp appearing to have made a full recovery from knee surgery, Reynolds acknowledges that his opportunities might not be as abundant this season.
Cooks, 25, is coming off his fourth consecutive 1,000-yard receiving performance in five NFL seasons. Last season, his first with the Rams, he caught 80 passes for 1,204 yards and five touchdowns.
Woods, 27, is eager to build on the best season of his six-year career. He caught a team-best 86 passes for 1,219 yards and scoredseven touchdowns.
Kupp, 26, caught 40 passes for 566 yards and six touchdowns before he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee against the Seattle Seahawks in the 10th game. Kupp was held out of many full-team drills during offseason workouts, but looked strong and confident during joint practices with the Chargers and Oakland Raiders.
McVay said the Rams look at Reynolds as “a starting player” despite the fact that he will come off the bench. Reynolds’ importance was evident in McVay’s decision to keep him sidelined — as well as all starters on offense — during preseason games.
“You definitely feel the love, and the expectation and belief in me from our coaches and our players,” Reynolds said. “But ultimately, it keeps you wanting to stay there, so you work just as hard.”
Cooks, Woods and Kupp established a standard that Reynolds has adopted and lived up to, quarterback Jared Goff said. And Reynolds took “a huge step” in his development during offseason workouts.
“I have just as much faith and trust in him as I do the other three,” Goff said, “so he’s a fourth starter.”
At 6 feet, 3 inches, Reynolds is the Rams’ tallest wide receiver. He has a “suddenness” that, combined with his length, makes him tough to defend, safety John Johnson said.
“He’s got a long, deceptive speed to him that people don’t really see,” Johnson said. “He doesn’t look like he’s running very fast, but he’ll pull away from you.”
The next step in his development, Reynolds said, will be achieved by extending plays for more yards after catches. Experience gained last season, familiarity in the Rams’ system and increased knowledge of defenses will aid him as more “priority” plays are called for him.
“I think I proved that I’m able to compete in this league and make plays and help my team win,” Reynolds said. “That kind of opens things up for me, and I’m excited to see where that takes me.”
The Rams held a 60-play scrimmage during the portion of practice that was closed to reporters, McVay said. The scrimmage was for starters, who are not participating in preseason games. Running back Todd Gurley did not participate, McVay said. “It was part of the format that we had set out and that was kind of the plan going into” the Thursday workout, he said. ... The Rams play the Denver Broncos on Saturday at the Coliseum. They conclude the preseason Thursday night at the Houston Texans.