Rams' Pharoh Cooper will return punts against Jaguars

Friday, 13 October 2017, 04:42:24 PM. Pharoh Cooper’s role is expanding for the Rams.

Pharoh Cooper’s role is expanding for the Rams.

The second-year receiver, the starting kickoff returner, is on track to return punts on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, coach Sean McVay said Wednesday.

Cooper will replace Tavon Austin, who has muffed several punts, including two in last week’s loss against the Seattle Seahawks.

Cooper was competing with rookie receiver Cooper Kupp for the additional role.

Kupp is a starting receiver. He caught one punt against the Seahawks.

Cooper has averaged 27.1 yards per kick return.

“When you look at the role that [Kupp] has offensively, and then how well Pharoh’s done as far as… a kick returner, I feel a lot of confidence in him, and that’s more likely the direction that we will go,” McVay said.

Austin said he would continue to work through his issues.

“I really believe I’m the best punt returner in the league,” he said. “I’ve just got to get rid of a couple problems I’m dealing with right now…. I’d rather come off than to hurt this team.”

Concerned quarterback

Jared Goff, who grew up in Novato, said his family lives about 45 minutes from the deadly fires that have ravaged Northern California.

“It’s been tough to see some people that I know, and some people that are friends of friends, that have been affected by it,” he said. “Hopefully, they can get it under control soon.”

Goff’s father, Jerry, is a firefighter stationed in Millbrae. He was not among those deployed to the area, but Goff said an uncle was a firefighter in Santa Rosa.

Etc.

Linebacker Mark Barron (knee) and cornerback Troy Hill (shoulder) did not practice. Safety Lamarcus Joyner (hamstring) was limited.

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gary.klein@latimes.com

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