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Cooper Kupp going down was an ill-timed blow to what has been a juggernaut of a Rams’ offense. Sean McVay has enough weapons at his disposal to adjust and with Kupp’s concussion and MCL sprain, the Rams’ have already experienced life without him. Josh Reynolds is the one that everyone is looking at to step right in. Robert Woods will take Kupp’s place in the slot but Josh Reynolds will be counted on to make things happen on the outside. Fortunately, this isn’t a Carson Wentz to Nick Foles situation. Reynolds won’t have to shoulder the load all by himself because this gives several Rams offense players a chance to shine.

In his second year, Reynolds has 98 yards and two touchdowns in relief duty. At 6’3 he’s a big target for Jared Goff and he’s been difficult to tackle. He stepped up big in last year’s thriller against the Eagles, and during the comeback against Green Bay. The third-rounder out of Texas A&M is fully prepared to handle a full time starring roll in the Halle Berry offense (although Goff is still aiming to be Billy Bob Thorton in Monsters Ball), McVay has other ways to fill the Kupp chasm.

Over the last few weeks, McVay started to work in the tight ends a lot more. Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee could be the difference makers in the playoffs. Similar to how the Eagles utilized their three tight ends Zach Ertz, Trey Burton, and Brent Celek, the Rams can lean on Higbee and Everett to stretch the field. Both have had moments this season and no other team in the NFC has that kind of flexibility at tight end. This benefits Reynolds because the more viable targets on the field, the less likely he is to face a double team. Defenses already have to plan for Woods, Todd Gurley, and Brandin Cooks. Add in a package featuring both tight ends and it could be game over.

The playoffs create stars, and Josh Reynolds has every opportunity to do just that. He gets the best of both worlds in that he can be a hero when needed but if he isn’t, there are enough Avengers on the roster to keep him from being the villain. If only that were the case for the defense.

Sports Al Dente 2019

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