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Georgia Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart: Stetson Bennett is Ready "To Prove People Wrong"

May 3, 2023
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ATHENS - Georgia Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart is certain of one thing - Stetson Bennett is ready to slam the door on his haters, again.

"No matter when he goes, or where he goes he's going to continue to prove people wrong,” Kirby told ESPN on Thursday. He’s uber-talented. He's got great athleticism. The part that people don't give him credit for - he's already played in the system. Todd Monken's system has been all over the NFL. So he can walk into a huddle; he can anticipate throws; he's seen all the defenses. He's played in the right type of system.”

There’s no question that’s the been the case at Georgia. The problem Bennett has is an opportunity problem. Jerry Glanville made this saying famous: the NFL stands for “Not For Long” if you aren’t doing very well, and increasingly that phrase has applied to starting quarterbacks more than anyone else. 



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The Jets have already given up on 2021 No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson. Trey Lance is in a similar boat by the Bay. Jordan Love hasn’t played a significant snap for the Packers. Dwayne Haskins never worked for Washington. Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen have fizzled out or failed. Mitchell Trubisky hasn’t worked while Deshaun Watson has been as much trouble as he has been talented. 

And those are only the quarterbacks who have been picked in the first round since Stetson got to Georgia… the first time. 

What’s all that mean for Stetson? He needs to be in a position where NFL applies to someone else - very specifically the quarterback(s) in front of him. No one in the NFL is going to “want” Stetson to become their starting quarterback - not for one week; and certainly not longer than that. 

They don’t want that because that means something very bad happened. Their plans are not working. GMs and owners draft signal callers in the first round because they “want” them to work. They are spending real money and cap money investing in them. It is the most important on-field decision in professional sports.

What Stetson proved at Georgia is irrelevant now. He has to figure out how to last in a league that won’t want him. It is a league where everyone is so smart they’ve figure out how to repeat the same mistakes over and over at this spot. It is a league that outthinks itself constantly. It is uber competitive. It is a multi-billion dollar industry that prints money, and can afford to make mistakes. 

Stetson can’t make any. 

His path to the field will be similar to what happened at UGA, but it won’t mimic it exactly. Kirby and company owed nothing to D’Wan Mathis or J.T. Daniels. There was no salary cap to consider. They couldn’t be cut or traded. Georgia could go with the person who gave them the best chance to win - and that was Stetson. 

The circumstances won’t be the same in the NFL. Stetson will have to do all he did in Athens and more. A late-round draft pick quarterback doesn’t matter to NFL teams. And please save your Tom Brady stupidity. Brock Purdy? Gardner Minshew? Yes, perhaps. 

But most late-round picks don’t get a second contract. There are far more Cole McDonalds, Ben DiNuccis and Nate Stanleys out there than not. Stetson’s new fight is to be an NFL player people remember - not just a college star. 

According to FanDuel, Steston Bennett and the LA Rams have +650 odds to win the NFC West during the 2023 season.



 

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