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Rams WR Puka Nacua still trying to reach Cooper Kupp's expectations: 'He set the standard for us'

Puka Nacua set the all-time bar for rookie receivers, earning the record for receiving yards and receptions in 2023. Still, the star wideout continues chasing greatness within his own receiver room.

Nacua noted Monday that the standard is always high when your teammate is a former triple crown winner like Cooper Kupp.

"I feel like I'm still trying to reach Coop's expectations," Nacua said, via the team's official website. "Because he set the standard for us in the wide receiver room and for a lot of receivers in the NFL. I mean, to be the triple crown winner. I just mentioned it to him not too long ago, I don't know how wide receivers have won a Super Bowl MVP.

"The standard is still set very high, and I don't think I'm close to reaching it."

A fifth-round pick, Nacua blasted onto the NFL scene, earning 100-plus yards in three of his first four games as a rookie. In all, he had seven tilts of 100-plus yards, including three over the 150-yard mark. The wideout earned 105 total catches and 1,486 yards with six touchdowns on his way to a Pro Bowl.

In addition to his regular-season records, Nacua set a new single-game postseason record for a rookie when he went for 181 yards on nine catches with a touchdown in the playoff loss to Detroit.

Never one to rest on his laurels, Nacua spent the offseason training with Kupp, learning how professionals attack the offseason. Nacua said the veteran wideout has taught him about nutrition, the importance of rest, and, of course, how to condition like a pro.

"His conditioning days were some of the tougher ones," Nacua said. "I remember the first week I came back, I think I threw up every day of the week. He wasn't a fan of that, because it was on his lawn and stuff. He was like, 'you're throwing up in my bushes Puka, thanks.' But it was super fun, and then to come back in today, it felt like I didn't miss a beat. There was kind of an idea of, 'Oh, I don't know what I'm going to do for the offseason.' But following Coop's plan made it super easy and centered me in the right way."

Nacua put up a ridiculous rookie season, but there remains room to grow. Working alongside Kupp for a full offseason is a great sign that that development will continue on its upward trajectory.

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