San Francisco’s head coach Kyle Shanahan looks to bury last week’s meltdown and mirror the regular season success of dominating the Rams over the previous three years. Luckily, Shanahan has the hottest defensive coordinator in the NFL in DeMeco Ryans. Ryans’ defense forced nine three-and-outs last week and has another tall task this week, starting with Kupp.
Ryans met with the media Friday and fielded questions about who is replacing Odell Beckham Jr.’s production.
Q: No Free Agent WR Odell Beckham Jr. for the Rams this year; where are they going in his absence? Who are they turning to?
“Yeah, I think with that, [Los Angeles Rams WR] Allen Robinson II, he’s a really good player for them, but with them adding him, he’s been a good add for them. And also, it’s the [Los Angeles Rams WR] Cooper Kupp show, like no matter how you try to slice it up, whether the guys are doubling, whatever it is, the guy finds a way. I think the connection and chemistry with him and [Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew] Stafford is one of the best I’ve seen in the league in a long time. Those guys are always in sync and they’re always on the same page, which makes it tough as a defense to defend those guys because they’re so good, they’re so precise at what they do that they make it a really tough challenge.”
The 49ers know all about Cooper Kupp. Kupp hit the Niners’ defense for 29 catches, 382 yards, and three touchdowns last year. Ryans and the defense will be on high alert with Kupp not missing a beat in 2022. He started the season with back-to-back games of 10+ catches and 100+ yards.
McVay lines Kupp up everywhere: in the slot, out wide, and in the backfield. San Francisco's defenders have to be on their toes because Kupp is lethal. Ryans’ secondary will succeed when they press or redirect him. Giving him a free release typically results in a first down.
Emmanuel Moseley and Mooney Ward can up their stock as a top cornerback duo by keeping Kupp under 100 yards. The secondary has to watch out for explosive plays from all receivers, but expect Kupp to get most of the cheese plays.