Stetson Bennett adjusting to ‘completely different’ play calling in NFL
No position comes with a steeper learning curve in the NFL than quarterback. Not only are throws tougher to make and defenses more difficult to read, but the pre-snap responsibilities are much different, too.
It starts with something that seems as simple as play calling. At Georgia, Stetson Bennett looked to the sideline for signals in order to get the play for the offense. He didn’t have an earpiece in his helmet like he does now, so the process is “completely different.”
On his first day of OTAs, Bennett admitted he struggled a bit with relaying the calls from Sean McVay to the huddle, but he’s working on it.
“The first day, I was kind of freaking out about the play calls and stumbling over my words a little bit,” Bennett said. “It’s weird to hear the play call from the earpiece. It’s just completely different from seeing it in signals, which is what we did in college. He was very helpful. ‘You’re good, you’re good. Come on. You’ll get through it.’ So I’d have to ask him like twice, but he was helpful with that.”
McVay is a notoriously fast speaker, which doesn’t help Bennett’s cause. Matthew Stafford is used to it, being in the offense for two years now, but Bennett is still getting acclimated to McVay’s calls.
“Matthew was like, ‘Yeah, I can hear him pretty clear.’ And I was like, ‘I can’t.’ So I gotta work on that,” he said with a laugh.
Play calls are complex in the NFL, to the point where it’s almost unbelievable how long they are – specifically in McVay’s offense. During the Rams-Raiders game last year, the broadcast played a soundbite of John Wolford calling a play.
It’s probably way longer than you think.
Just your average Sean McVay play call 🤨 pic.twitter.com/6rUgknfM0o
— NFL on Prime Video (@NFLonPrime) December 9, 2022
Seeing that play call, it’s completely understandable that Bennett stumbled over his words when relaying it in the huddle his first day on the job. He’s a smart player and will get it down sooner rather than later.
“He’s really smart,” McVay said of Bennett as he adjusts to NFL play calling. “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. It’s not just, alright, let’s just memorize a script, but I have really no idea what I’m saying in terms of the formations, the way I’m setting the protection, where’s the concept? What type of read is it based on whatever the defense presents? And so, there is a ton of information. You don’t take that for granted.”
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