ATHENS — Matthew Stafford told reporters in Los Angeles that Stetson Bennett is coming along just fine with the Rams’ franchise.
“Stetson’s done a nice job,” Stafford said at the end of the Los Angeles Rams’ OTAs, per the RamsNewsWire.com
“Obviously it’s a lot to process and a lot to learn for a young guy. He’s done a nice job. He’s got great athleticism, throws it really well. He does a lot of things really well, so I’m happy for him.”
Bennett is projected to back up Stafford, who returns after missing the end of last season with a spinal contusion.
The last time Bennett wasn’t expected to see much action sitting behind a talented Southern California passer he came off the bench to lead Georgia to a national title.
Bennett caught his break in 2021 after preseason Heisman Trophy favorite J.T. Daniels suffered a series of upper-body injuries after taking an inadvertent shot when former UGA defensive lineman Jalen Carter threw a blocker into him in a non-contact scrimmage.
Daniels played in the season-opening showdown with Clemson wearing a flak-jacket but was sidelined for Game Two against UAB.
Coach Kirby Smart said at the start of that week that Carson Beck was his No. 2 quarterback, but when Beck had an off week of practice, Bennett was called up from his No. 3 spot to get the start against the Blazers.
Bennett, who had become the starter in 2020 after incumbent D’Wan Mathis struggled in the opener, responded with five touchdown passes in the first half against UAB.
Coach Kirby Smart liked what he saw and elevated Bennett to No. 2, so after Daniels reclaimed the starting job for South Carolina only to get injured again against Vanderbilt, the self-named “Mailman” was ready to take over the job.
Bennett led the Bulldogs to the national championship and won Offensive MVP honors in wins over Michigan and Alabama.
Still, former Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken looked to sign former Oklahoma QB Caleb Williams out of the portal following the Bulldogs’ 2021 championship run.
That led Bennett to say after the national championship game he wasn’t sure if he would be returning to play at UGA in 2022.
I’m going to play football this next year, we’ll see where,” Bennett said on Good Morning America, appearing a bit more than tired after a night of celebrating the championship game the night before.
“We’ll see if I can trust the decisions that are made by the staff and see where I’m going to play.”
As it turned out, it’s widely speculated USC offered Williams more money and that cleared a path for Bennett to return as the unquestioned starter for the Bulldogs.
Bennett was much more impressive at quarterback in 2022, improving his footwork and throwing mechanics in the offseason, making him more dangerous in the pocket and layering throws.
Georgia went 15-0, repeating as champions, with Bennett taking MVP honors in the CFP games en route to becoming a fourth-round NFL Draft pick.
The Rams took note in the draft and once again in practices earlier this offseason season, as Bennett drew praise from Cooper Kupp.
The Stetson Bennett story appears far from over as this next chapter unfolds, appropriately, just outside Hollywood.