We know that the lion's share of preseason work has fallen on the shoulders of LA Rams rookie backup quarterback Stetson Bennett. But in the third and final preseason game, does it make sense to put Bennett in the pocket throwing the entire game? Will the Rams share the snaps with either veteran quarterback Brett Rypien or rookie quarterback Dresser Winn? How about after the LA Rams start their 2023 NFL season, what happens to Stetson Bennett then?
It's an intricate dance that the LA Rams coaching staff try to perform each season. That fine line between protection and building experience. For the Rams' perspective, anyone who could have a meaningful role in the upcoming season is likely to be afforded the minimal number of preseason snaps conceivable. But for a rookie quarterback who needs to get acclimated to the speed and physicality of the NFL, experience is the best teacher.
There is only so far that a quarterback can get by practicing against his own teammates day after day. And for rookie quarterback Stetson Bennett, he seemed to pass that level of his development with flying colors.
The Rams have every reason to be impressed with Bennett.
In his first preseason game, the LA Rams opened the game with veteran backup quarterback Brett Rypien with no luck. And so, as planned, Rypien was replaced by former Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, who looked every bit the part of an NFL quarterback against the Los Angeles Chargers.
In that first preseason game, Bennett completed 17 of 29 passes for 191 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions. It was an ideal way to step into the NFL, with a solid showing that left enough room to improve but with solid and nearly mistake-free results. That was enough for the media to turn up the hype, and make Stetson Bennett suddenly become one of the hottest NFL rookies to watch in 2023.
NFL rookies' growth and development do not track in a gradual but positive slope. It is an up-and-down affair that, if plotted, hopefully, tracks as a gradual positive slope upwards. Such is the case for Bennett's second outing, which was a bit more error-ridden this time around. If his first two preseason games occured in reverse order, I believe that the LA Rams would have seen enough to justify benching Bennett in the third and final preseason game.
One more workout, and then rest
Traditionally, NFL teams allow their players on the bubble to compete almost exclusively in the final preseason game as a courtesy, creating ample video footage of their performance to allow other NFL teams that may be in need of a player in that position to sign them during the mass roster cuts to get down to the 53-man limit.
But the Rams may want more playing time for Bennett.
Regardless of who the Rams elect to add to the roster in terms of a third quarterback, or even if they do, Bennett will need to be polished and ready to go at a moment's notice. To ensure he is at that level of optimal preparedness, Rams coaches may want him to carry the burden of playing the majority of the time in Game 3.
It would make sense that the Rams want to end preseason on a high note, and quarterback Stetson Bennett needs a positive performance to close out the Rams' preseason schedule. And for what it's worth, I think that Bennett has a 200+ yards passing game in him that is just dying to get out in this final contest.