Stetson Bennett, first-round pick both question marks for Rams

By Thomson Reuters Feb 23, 2024 | 3:35 PM

As the Los Angeles Rams prepare to enter the new league year in March, one of their biggest question marks is at the quarterback position.

Matthew Stafford and then who?

The 36-year-old Stafford will be the only quarterback on the roster come March 14 as the Rams churned through backups last season.

Stetson Bennett, a two-time national champion at Georgia, was taken in the fourth round of the 2023 draft to back up Stafford and potentially learn under the veteran as the heir apparent. Bennett left the team in the preseason for a reason that remains undisclosed, and the Rams then turned to Brett Rypien and later Carson Wentz as the understudy.

Rypien was released in November and Wentz will become an unrestricted free agent.

Coach Sean McVay said Thursday that the Rams will reach out to Bennett, 26, “at the appropriate time.”

McVay, in a video conference call with reporters, said it remains to be seen whether club and quarterback will be a good fit.

“And you figure out, ‘All right, where are you at? And is this something we feel like is best for him and our football team to bring him back into this ecosystem?'”

McVay continued: “Those will be conversations that we will have. And then I think once we have a better idea of what we’ll do with that, then that will give clarity.”

Bennett was placed on the non-football injury/illness list last September. At the time, McVay said the move was unrelated to a minor shoulder injury the quarterback experienced. McVay said he couldn’t share specifics, but said the issue was “bigger than” football.

“Out of respect for him and the situation, I’m going to leave all the specifics and particulars in-house,” McVay said then. “And I want to be able to do that out of respect for that situation, so I’m not going to really have any follow-up information or anything that I’ll give in that regards.

“I really hope that you can please respect my wishes in regards to keeping that in-house. I understand you have a job to do, but there are certain things that I think are a little bigger and a little more important. And out of respect for the particulars and the specifics, we want to keep it in-house, and that’s where I want to leave it please.”

Bennett played well in the preseason but faced questions about his maturity and readiness for the NFL during the pre-draft process following an arrest for public intoxication, despite his advanced age for a rookie.

Stafford, the No. 1 pick out of Georgia in 2009 by the Detroit Lions, won the Super Bowl in his first season with the Rams after Los Angeles sent Jared Goff, two first-round picks and a third-round pick to the Lions for Stafford on March 18, 2021.

The Rams never have made a first-round pick in the Sean McVay era and have the No. 19 selection in April’s draft. Will they use it on a quarterback?

McVay hinted Thursday the Rams could trade out of the first-round spot again.

“Oh, that’s a big if,” he said when asked about making a pick in the round.

–Field Level Media