NFC West Author
Since arriving on the workforce’s facility after the Los Angeles Rams chosen him within the fifth spherical of this yr’s draft, receiver Puka Nacua has rapidly adjusted to life within the NFL and head coach Sean McVay’s exact passing offense.
With star receiver Cooper Kupp on injured reserve for the primary 4 weeks of the common season with a lingering hamstring harm, Nacua has helped to fill the void. From the workforce’s perspective, few have been shocked based mostly on his efficiency in offseason work and coaching camp.
Nevertheless, the way in which through which the BYU product introduced his arrival to the NFL was gorgeous. Towards one of many higher secondaries within the league, Nacua completed with 10 catches for 119 yards on 15 targets in a shocking street win over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1.
Nacua has picked up McVay’s advanced offense rapidly and is serving because the workforce’s go-to receiver with Kupp out.
“Puka Nacua has are available and he is as mature a rookie as I’ve ever been round,” McVay stated. “And he’s a bodily, robust, sturdy participant. He is acquired an effective way about himself.”
Via diligent work and a whole lot of reps, Nacua has earned the belief of quarterback Matthew Stafford. Within the recreation towards Seattle, greater than 40 % of Stafford’s passes went in Nacua’s route.
“It did not actually begin in coaching camp. It began the second he acquired drafted right here and was in OTAs,” Stafford informed reporters when requested about his reference to Nacua. “I spent a bunch of time in OTAs working with him, hung out in between OTAs and coaching camp throwing to him. Spent a bunch of time throughout coaching camp, simply reps. And his understanding of the sport comes actually pure to him.”
Very similar to Kupp, Nacua is a mid-round decide from a less-highlighted West Coast Division I college that didn’t usually play towards elite-level competitors. The 6-foot-2, 201-pound Nacua ran a 4.55 40 at BYU’s professional day, so there was some query if he had sufficient pace to persistently get open on the NFL stage.
Nevertheless, like Kupp, Nacua has an innate skill to separate on the prime of the route and is bodily on the catch level, permitting him to win contested catches. And he can also make performs after the catch. Nacua additionally proved an efficient blocker within the run recreation towards Seattle’s defensive backs.
Nacua stated that Kupp has been there to assist all alongside the way in which.
“Coop’s been like a second coach on the market,” Nacua stated. “It is at all times good to have him out on the sphere. … After we’re coming again to verify the iPads, he is the primary one there to both say good job, or that is what I am seeing and what I am taking a look at. Coop’s the person. I really like that man. I really feel like I am blessed to be on this state of affairs.”
Nacua’s large day leads this week’s NFC West Inventory Watch.
Puka Nacua, Rams
The Rams did job of attacking the center of the sphere towards Seattle’s protection. In response to Subsequent Gen Stats, Nacua was focused 15 occasions in his NFL debut, probably the most by a rookie in Week 1 over the previous eight seasons (44.1% goal charge). He had most of his manufacturing come within the quick space (0-9 air yards), the place he caught 6-of-9 targets for 64 yards.
Nacua has been one of the vital picked-up gamers in fantasy soccer this week due to his success in Week 1. He’ll face a harder check Sunday towards the San Francisco 49ers, who enhance probably the greatest defensive fronts within the league and a proficient second stage of protection led by All-Professional linebacker Fred Warner.
Jake Moody, 49ers
The third-round kicker out of Michigan struggled within the preseason, lacking two area objectives and an additional level. Together with that, Moody suffered a strained quad, creating concern about his skill to execute going into Week 1 for a workforce constructed to win the Tremendous Bowl.
Moody put these inquiries to relaxation by going 3-for-3 on area objectives, with an extended of 41 yards, and making all his additional factors in San Francisco’s blowout of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
49ers or Cowboys: Who made an even bigger assertion?
Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers
Aiyuk continues to indicate that he has developed right into a No. 1 receiver in San Francisco’s offense, catching all eight targets Brock Purdy threw his manner for 129 yards and two scores. For his effort, Aiyuk earned NFC Offensive Participant of the Week honors.
Aiyuk was notably profitable towards veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson, who had predicted he would get an interception towards Purdy. In response to Subsequent Gen Stats, Aiyuk caught all three receptions for 43 yards and two touchdowns with Peterson on him.
Geno Smith, Seahawks
Voted the Comeback Participant of the 12 months final season, Smith earned a giant payday for turning round his profession. However his struggles in his workforce’s disappointing loss to the Rams continued a troubling development from the second half of final season. Smith completed 16-of-26 for 112 yards, with a landing and no interceptions towards Los Angeles. He was sacked twice and posted an 84.1 passer ranking. Within the second half, Smith had simply 9 passing yards.
Since Week 10 of final season, Smith has accomplished 66% of his passes for two,448 yards, with 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions for a 94.3 passer ranking. The Seahawks are 3-7 in these contests.
Dre’Mont Jones, Seahawks
He signed a three-year, 51.3 million deal in free company this offseason to assist ignite Seattle’s cross rush. However Jones completed with simply three mixed tackles and no sacks or quarterback hits in his workforce’s loss to the Rams. The Seahawks didn’t sack Stafford and completed with simply two quarterback hits on 38 passing makes an attempt.
Making Seahawks followers much more pissed off, the participant Seattle handed on within the first spherical of this yr’s draft, DT Jalen Carter, recorded six pressures and a sack on 32 cross rushes in his NFL debut for the Philadelphia Eagles. In response to Subsequent Gen Stats, that tied for probably the most pressures by any rookie defensive deal with in a recreation over the previous 5 seasons.
Seattle’s first-round decide, cornerback Devon Witherspoon, didn’t play in Week 1 due to a lingering hamstring situation he has been coping with for the previous month.
David Helman breaks down Rams’ gorgeous win over Seahawks
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Joshua Dobbs, Cardinals
It is most likely unfair to count on a lot from Dobbs in Week 1 since he joined the workforce only a few weeks in the past. However in his first begin for Arizona, he completed 21-of-30 for 132 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions for a 78.8 passer ranking.
Even with Arizona’s protection creating three turnovers towards Washington, it will likely be exhausting for the seemingly tanking Cardinals to win video games if Dobbs and the offense do not carry out higher.
Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for greater than a decade, overlaying the Los Angeles Rams for Sports activities Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma Information Tribune. Comply with him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.
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