After one of the greatest regular seasons for a wide receiver in NFL history, Cooper Kupp ended his 2021 campaign celebrating a Super Bowl victory and being voted the game's most valuable player.
In 2022, however, Kupp ended his season on injured reserve, a high ankle sprain having cut his year short amid a Los Angeles Rams freefall from first to worst.
Now, in the infant days of 2023 training camp, Kupp is finding his footing as he and the Rams look to get back to their winning ways after a calamitous 5-12 season.
"Being camp, things feel fast, like they're just moving a little faster than you're used to," Kupp, 30, said this week, via ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk. "But man, even just from the first day to second day, things definitely [starting to feel] like, OK, now we're back into the groove.
"Seeing things and being able to react off them. So it's going to be a process. … Obviously, I haven't done it since November, so it's been a while. But it'll come back fast."
A fast comeback is the hope, at least, for the Rams.
Kupp hauled in a rare receiving triple crown in 2021 when he helped the Rams to their first Super Bowl victory as representatives of Los Angeles.
Last year, though, Kupp was one of litany of injured L.A. players who added up to a disastrous Super Bowl follow-up. His year lasted nine games before his ankle required surgery and a season-ending trip to injured reserve.
Heading into his seventh season, Kupp, who still had 75 receptions for 812 yards and six touchdowns in 2022, is getting up to speed and finding his footing at this point.
However, one similarity to 2021 is his quick chemistry with quarterback Matthew Stafford. After Stafford was acquired via trade with the Detroit Lions, the quarterback and Kupp instantly became one of the NFL's most potent QB-WR combos. Despite the pitfalls of last year, it seems the two are still in lockstep ahead of their third season together.
"That's been kind of the weird but really cool thing," Kupp said of maintaining his timing with Stafford. "It's kind of felt like that from the first time he was here in '21. It was just like that in OTAs, it just kind of clicked. We were able to throw together a little bit in July and it just felt like first time back, timing was just right there … it's just kind of very natural."
As for Kupp's ankle, so far so good as he gets back to the groove that not so long ago aided in the Rams' Super Bowl ascent.
"It feels good," Kupp said . "That's a long time [to be out]. I think the last time I [came back from such a long layoff] was basically coming off of the ACL [injury] in '18 to '19. Man, [it's] great being back out here playing football again."