THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – There's all kinds of learning taking place as Rams rookie quarterback Stetson Bennett navigates his transition to Los Angeles and the NFL.
For example, it's still possible to get sunburn even when it's cloudy – he pointed out during his press conference Tuesday how the skin on his nose was peeling as an example – and the playcalls come in fast.
"Matthew was like, 'Yeah, I can hear him pretty clear,' and I was like, 'I can't,'" Bennett said with a laugh, referring to head coach Sean McVay relaying playcalls on the headset. "So I got to work on that."
It's certainly different from college football, where viewers often see playcalls communicated through hand signals and large signs. Fortunately for Bennett, he has two valuable teachers in his own position room in Stafford and Brett Rypien.
Bennett said what stands out about Stafford is the way he thinks about things.
"I'm not even on his level yet on the playbook to where I can get cerebral with it," Bennett said. "Like, I got to learn the basics – the plays, formations, protections, to where then you can start getting cerebral with it, right? But he knows it so well. He remembers what it was like whenever he was me, a younger guy not really having a full concept of it. And so he dumbs it down for me and just says, 'look here, look there, blah, blah, blah.' And so that's where listening to him and how he applies the simple stuff to the complex stuff (helps)."
Rypien, meanwhile, is being exposed to his fourth different offense in five seasons, though three of them come from the same offensive philosophical tree in terms of the McVay-Shanahan system.
In Rypien's first season with the Broncos in 2019, the offense was run by Rich Scangarello, who served as quarterbacks coach for the 49ers under head coach Kyle Shanahan in 2017 and 2018. In 2022, the offense was run by Nathaniel Hackett and Justin Outten, both of whom previously worked under Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, who worked with both McVay and Shanahan. Now, of course, Rypien is learning McVay's offense.
The language varies between the 49ers, Packers and Rams' offenses, but those systems share the same core principles and fundamentals, which effectively gives Rypien three seasons' worth of experience repping those principles and knowing what it looks like – something that can help Bennett learn McVay's offense. Rypien has also been helpful in unexpected ways, too.
"Brett's a pro's pro," Benett said. "He knows how to go about it. He also already texted me, 'if you need any DoorDash or UberEats suggestions, I gotcha.' I was like, 'I will, dude.' But little things like that, it helps. This is brand new for me, all of this stuff. I was at Georgia for the past six years, and then a small town in Georgia. Now we're in Thousand Oaks right now, training, so you need all the help you can get. But just little questions like about footwork here on play fakes or handoffs, stuff like that, he's already had those questions and heard it from different offenses, too, as well as this one. But yeah, Brett's been a huge help."
Bennett had yet to participate in 11-on-11 work, doing just 7-on-7 drills through the first two days of OTAs. Still, he's staying patient – and has two teammates close by that he can lean on as he continues to learn.
"Right now, I don't know enough to know that yet," Bennett said, when asked if any particular part of the transition from college to the NFL has been challenging. "I can just tell you that it's fast. I haven't an 11-on-11 rep yet, but those d-linemen are coming. And just the timing on 7-on-7, the hashes are little bit different, so that makes for shorter throw to the field, but longer throw to the boundary, which is something. And the routes are a little bit deeper here. I'm being patient with it. I don't want to tell myself what something is now, when I don't know what it is yet. Just trying to keep going, learn every day and get better at my mastering of the basics."
Take a look through photos showcasing exciting moments from Day 2 of OTAs, featuring Los Angeles Rams defensive back Cobie Durant, outside linebacker Daniel Hardy, safety Quentin Lake and more young players on the rise. Witness the emergence of new talent as they make their mark in preparation for the upcoming season.