That will be a key assessment Saturday when the team finishes its preseason schedule at Denver, with the rookie quarterback getting another chance to prove he can make the right decisions on the field.
Bennett, a fourth-round pick from Georgia, had some errant throws in his preseason debut against the Chargers that just eluded defenders, then floated a pass against the Las Vegas Raiders that was intercepted and run back for a 50-yard touchdown.
He also showed resilience, rebounding from the pick-six and capping a 75-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run.
“Some good, some bad, and some in between and a lot of things to coach off of,” Rams offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said.
The performance of Bennett will be a central topic in the preseason finale. Five other things to watch for the Rams:
Get a grip
Johnson had a total of eight catches in the first two preseason games, sharing the team lead with rookie tight end Davis Allen.
The Rams cycled through 12 offensive line combinations in their first 13 games last season, so deciding which backup linemen to keep is more than an academic exercise.
Bruss is coming off a sprained ankle against the Raiders.
Making a stand
The Rams were so-so against the run last season, and although it’s hard to get an accurate read in the preseason with the starters watching from the sideline, the run defense appears something short of airtight.
The defense slowed the run a little better against the Raiders, but it was trampled by the Chargers, who ran for 214 yards and two touchdowns, averaging a robust 6.9 yards per run.
The Rams begin the season against Seattle and San Francisco, and if they have trouble putting clamps on the ground game, that could make for a couple of long Sundays.
Ethan Evans played college football at Wingate (North Carolina), altitude 581 feet. Saturday, the Rams rookie will be punting in the thin air of the Mile High City, so that should be fun for him. He has a tendency to outkick his coverage though, so that could be even more of an issue.
Covering punts has been a towering concern for the Rams, who have surrendered 181 yards and a touchdown in 13 punts by Evans.
That might sound familiar.
In 2021, the Rams went 0-3 in the preseason against the Chargers, Raiders and Broncos yet wound up winning the Super Bowl.
These games are important not just for coaches to make those final on-the-fence decisions, but also for players who are not going to make the roster to open doors elsewhere.
“It’s important for them to be able to showcase their skill sets and do well,” coach Sean McVay said, “so that when other teams look on that film, if it's not for us, that they get an opportunity to be able to continue on their playing career. That's always been an important thing for us.”
So in one sense, these preseason games mean a lot. In another sense, they’re often an unreliable indicator of what’s to come.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.