LA Rams rookie Stetson Bennett turns out to be more Clark Kent than Superman

Los Angeles Rams Stetson Bennett
Los Angeles Rams Stetson Bennett / Tyler Schank/GettyImages

There is a reason not to get too excited about a great debut in the NFL by a rookie, and perhaps no better example exists than LA Rams rookie backup quarterback Stetson Bennett. When he debuted in his first preseason game for the LA Rams, he showed up in solid fashion, connecting on 17 of 29 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown. While that was not a record-breaking performance for the rookie hurler, it was enough to send social media buzzing over an impressive debut.

The thinking was that he would only improve from there. But that is not how it goes for rookies. Their growth and development does not come in a neat and tidy gradual slope upwards. Instead, it is a string of data points that rivals the topography charts of the Rocky Mountains, with points that scream upwards, followed by a perilous drop on the very next point.

Over the final two Rams preseason games, Bennett would appear to be very mortal. He would throw a combined 19 of 33 passes for 156 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. He simply appeared to be very much like what he was, a rookie trying to learn and operate a rather complex Rams offense in a flight simulator, and he was struggling to keep everything flying along smoothly:

If Stetson Bennett's three preseason game performances occurred in reverse order, I think many Rams fans would have a more optimistic tone as the Rams enter the 2023 regular season.

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“It's never as good as it looks and it's never as bad as it seems.” - Tom Polluck

And so, the 'Up! Up! And Away!' start to Stetson Bennett's first preseason with the LA Rams did not result in a new NFL Superman. Rather, it was more like a humbling introduction to the latest rookie Clark Kent, a mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet.

Well, his play in preseason Game 3 was truly a bad performance. There is no way to sugarcoat that. And for rookie Stetson Bennett, it was likely the worst that could happen. In the end, he ended the game by completing just four of nine passes for 14 yards and two interceptions. It was a humbling experience for a quarterback who had previously led his team to two consecutive NCAA College Football Championships. Welcome to the NFL, Stetson Bennett.

But while Game 3 did not follow the fairy tale script ending that we all had apparently written in our heads, it was still just a preseason game. The LA Rams will start the 2023 NFL season at 0-0, just like 31 other NFL teams. For every player in that horrific loss last night, they start the season with a blank slate.

Rookies experience erratic and unpredictable play in their first NFL season. And Stetson Bennett is a perfect case study in how three preseason games in the NFL for a rookie quarterback act more like bowls of porridge in Goldilocks and the 3 Bears fairy tale. His first game was too hot. His third game was too cold. And his second game was about right.

You go back, Jack, do it again

Today, the despair and anguish from unhappy Rams fans is burying social media over dark proclamations of NFL Armageddon, the last flickers of hope extinguished about the Rams upcoming 2023 NFL season, and some describing the Rams final preseason game as the worst football game they had ever witnessed in their lives.

Despite the fact that he is very much an NFL rookie, Rams fans are not too pleased with him right now. But while he showed very little mastery of this Rams offense, that will not be the start and finish of his NFL career. Like all Rams rookie backups, the path to succeed is to continue to train and practice as though starting for the Rams will happen in the very next game. Yes, Stetson Bennett has a lot of areas to work on. But he has yet to play a single NFL snap in a real game.

Be patient. GIve him time.

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What will the LA Rams do with QB Stetson Bennett now? The plan will not change. He will pick up a clipboard, run the Rams scouting team for the defense, take notes, and mentally prepare himself for the day that he will be tasked with running the LA Rams offense once more.