Stetson Bennett was already used to playing fast. After all, speed was everywhere in practices at Athens, Georgia. Now, he has to adjust to an even quicker tempo at Los Angeles Rams practices in Thousand Oaks.
Bennett, a rookie, is taking head coach Sean McVay’s play calls through his helmet, and he’s noticing McVay’s speech can be quick.
“The first day I was kind of freaking out with the play calls and stumbling over my words a little bit. It’s weird to hear the playset or the play call from the earpiece. Just completely different from seeing signals, which is what we did in college,” Bennett told reporters following the Rams’ May 23 practice. At Georgia, coaches used hand signals to relay their calls to players on the field.
However, the new style and pace of communication doesn’t mean that Bennett and McVay aren’t on the same page.
“He’s been helpful with that. With all the rookies, he’s been very helpful,” Bennett said.
Bennett told the media how it’s different for starting quarterback Matthew Stafford when it comes to hearing his head coach.
“Matthew said, ‘I can hear him pretty clear.’ And I was like ‘I can’t,’ Bennett said, drawing laughs from reporters. “So I’ve got to work on that.”
‘It’s Really Fast Out Here’
Bennett, a rookie, made a respectable first impression at Rams OTAs, according to Sports Illustrated.
“He appears to have enjoyed a solid opening act – and has many more opportunities to impress,” SI’s Daniel Flick wrote on May 19.
But he is “still learning the playbook,” wrote The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue, who urged in her May 24 story that the “Rams need to immediately get to work installing their second- and third-team offense.”
“It’s really fast out here,” Bennett said. “But it’s been good. We’ve got a big rookie class and we’re just trying to work through the playbook together, get it down and there’s a bunch to it. But it’s been fun.”
Is the speed faster than what he was used to at Georgia?
“No I wouldn’t say that. We practiced hard at Georgia and we got after it,” Bennett said. “And we had a lot of numbers. As far as just like the speed of the players, just them knowing where they need to be, people have a bit more freedom I’d say in their positions and what they can do. So that’s what makes it [Rams practice] a little bit faster and a little bit more sped up. You better be on your P’s and Q’s going to the right spot or otherwise, something bad is going to happen.”
‘He’s Really Smart’
As for McVay, coaching the rookie has given him a new perspective.
“It’s a little bit different, but he’s really smart,” McVay told reporters. “Both he and Dresser [Winn] are really conscientious guys. It’s a totally different vernacular and so in a lot of instances, sometimes you’re getting plays communicated with just flashing a card in college. I do think once you get comfortable with it, that’s an advantage that we have and that’s why it’s so important to be able to make sure that you’re building the foundations.”
MDuring the seven-on-seven portion of practice, Bennett showed he can throw the ball with accuracy and anticipation, McVay said.
Still, every Rams QB under McVay had to be a quick study regarding the playbook and play calling — and he’s expecting Bennett to be no different.
“Yeah, that’s definitely something that we haven’t had to do in a while [work with a rookie passer], but the guys that we have had to do it with, whether it was a John Wolford or Baker (Mayfield), those guys were really quick studies and they had at least accumulated some experience. So it is a little bit different than anything we’ve done.”