It was clear from the final preseason game that the LA Rams will need to invest a bit more patience into grooming and developing rookie quarterback Stetson Bennett before he is ready to take center stage in a regular season NFL game. That is not to throw shade at the young man. Rookie quarterbacks, as many positions on an NFL football team, have erratic data points of progress.
As much as his detractors would love to throw shade at him, everything that Stetson Bennett is experiencing right now, both the highs and the lows, are quite normal.
But the needs of the LA Rams team facing a daunting 2023 NFL schedule is unrelenting. Ready or not, here it comes, and the Rams have no more him-hawing about it. Clearly, whatever the training process used to train and assess the progress of Bennett was not providing accurate and objective assessments, which has now painted the Rams into a corner.
The Rams need time to develop Bennett, and the Rams schedule alarm is ringing loudly: "Time's up!"
So, the Rams may need to look elsewhere for a stopgap solution. Right now, they have a long list of options, and it is growing all the time. Here are three that make the most sense:
III: John Wolford
In terms of plug-and-play options, no quarterback exists who checks those boxes more emphatically than former backup quarterback John Wolford. He competed for a roster spot with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season, but a serious neck injury hard halted his chances. After his neck injury, and the subsequent "All clear," medical report, the Buccaneers opted to go in a different direction at their quarterback position.
Wolfman continues to be a logical option because he is intimately familiar with the Rams playbook, knows the players and coaches, and already has a great rapport with LA Rams head coach Sean McVay. He has limited upside, and carries a risk of injury. But if you want an economical gap solution to the Rams need for more time for Stetson Bennett, John Wolford really does make sense here.
II: Colt McCoy
If you are not all in on the John Wolford option, you may want to think about a proven veteran backup quarterback who was just released by the Arizona Cardinals: Colt McCoy.
We had discussed the option to sign McCoy in a previous article (see story link above). But what he brings to the Rams offense is a deep understanding of the NFC West Division, a great grasp of the role of backup quarterback, and no locker room drama.
I: Carson Wentz
While free agent quarterback Carson Wentz is most certainly the most controversial of the three options that we will discuss in this article, he is also a player with the greatest upside. Yes, he's struggled. Yes, he shiny reputation is dull and tarnished. But also yes, he is looking for a new team to compete on:
While many would sooner end the discussion for Wentz before it ever began, we simply need to turn back to 2022 to understand that not all quarterbacks who struggle elsewhere are washed up. If you think that to be the case, then how do you explain the sudden success and instant celebretism of former Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield? After all when he arrived last year, he had struggled and lost his job with the Washington Commanders and the Carolina Panthers.
When he left via the NFL Free Agency market, he had restored his reputation, recovered his love of playing the game of professional football, and recharged his competitive edge. And he just won the job of starting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, following the legendary quarterback Tom Brady.
I'm not suggesting that the same pattern will happen with Wentz, but the Rams have a proven track record of rekindling the fight in talented players. He did rejuvenate his career as a starter with the Indianapolis Colts, and he has the wherewithal to repeat that return to respectability with the Rams too.
Controversial? Sure. Low risk high reward? Absolutely.
Let's be brutally honest with ourselves right now. Although just a preseason game, the Rams just lost by a pathetic 41-0 score against the Denver Broncos. We are talking about a backup quarterback who, at best, will simply ensure that the Rams offense has a remote chance to power this team to a competitive chance if anything happens to Matthew Stafford.
We're not looking for a franchise QB. Just someone who can pilot this ship until the Rams, in a worst case scenario, select him in the 2024 NFL Draft.