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Rams WR Puka Nacua 'not really' feeling pressure to follow up record-setting rookie season

Puka Nacua had one of the finest rookie campaigns in NFL chronicle.

The statistics and his impact on the Los Angeles Rams returning to the postseason speak to that.

With a much-anticipated sophomore season ahead, Nacua isn't feeling any pressure to duplicate his overwhelming success, though, but rather viewing it as a challenge.

"No, not really," Nacua said on NFL Network's Schedule Release '24 Wednesday night when asked about feeling pressure going into Year 2. "Every week presented a different challenge and who we were playing against and also just trying to make sure I could prepare myself the best way to be able to be there on Sunday and perform my best. I think coming into this year, I think it definitely presents a challenge of just trying to reset the standard. Last year, from what I put on tape and tried to improve in the ways I know I'm capable of and then being there for my team in every which way coach [Sean] McVay asks a lot of us from the offensive side of the ball. I'm super excited for the challenges that come up this year."

Selected No. 177 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft, Nacua produced like no wide receiver prospect before him, concluding his first season with rookie records of 105 receptions and 1,486 yards. His catches stood as the ninth-most in the NFL, with his yardage total weighing in at fourth. Thus, replicating such impressive numbers is no easy feat regardless of it being his second year, one in which defenses will be more familiar with him.

Nonetheless, Nacua is already putting in the work in the hopes of improving his craft.

He'll get his first chance to show off any improvement in a Week 1 matchup that’s drawn plenty of hype already as the Rams are set to face the host Detroit Lions to open the season. The Lions eliminated the Rams in a 24-23 nail-biter during last season's Super Wild Card Round.

Much of the pregame attention surrounded quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff playing their former squads. That same storyline will be popular again, but Nacua was a star in the Rams' losing cause. He caught nine balls from Stafford for 181 yards and with a 50-yard touchdown reception.

Nacua's already pumped for a Motown return.

"Oh man, that was so exciting when we got that news the other day," Nacua said. "I almost didn't get any sleep. I was just thinking about, man, all the plays that we are getting ready to improve on and being able to be back in Detroit is going to be a fun one in Week 1."

For Nacua and the Rams, they will play back-to-back games at Detroit. The season won't be on the line this time, but the young wideout and his squad are no doubt hoping to fly back with victory to celebrate this time around.

"The Week 1 is a big one for us and obviously that's the game we get to play first," he said, "but man going out there to Detroit is going to be a fun one."

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