Kurt Benkert, a self-described "fringe" quarterback, is currently a free agent. He's spent time in the same QB rooms as Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers. Last season he was in Green Bay, where he recorded his first-ever career NFL stats: two kneeldowns for a total of negative-one yards. Earlier today, he joined me on QB2 to share the key to a good QB kneel.
"The first thing they say to you is don't lose any yards," Benkert said. "You're obviously going to lose yards, but you want to be as close to the line of scrimmage as possible. So a half a yard loss is what you are aiming for. I was able to do that. The biggest thing is you are going with a center you probably haven't had any reps with, so making sure you secure the snap, that is a really big deal. [...] It's—just don't mess it up. It's cool because you go into the huddle and most of the guys in there are exhausted, beat up, muddy, they have been playing all game and you're like, All right, I'm clean, let's go finish it out!"
Because Benkert is on the fringe, he's an expert networker. He has a LinkedIn account where he builds his other business endeavors: competitive esports and business development consulting. Because he is usually competing for the QB3 job, he has to spend time on other hustles that will become his post-football career.
He's also networking within the NFL as training camps kicked off this week. For the first time in 10 years (including college), Benkert is not on a roster to start training camp. He has a list of four to eight NFL teams he's watching for injuries and quarterbacks getting cut, "that I know in some way, shape or form I could fit into the room." Benkert said a few of those teams have him on their "shortlist" and have told him that they will circle back (not just a corporate term) after they get a look at another guy they currently have on the roster. Benkert keeps in touch with former coaches "to let them know, hey, I am ready to roll if needed."
"There's a bare minimum of what you need to be as a quarterback in the NFL," Benkert said. "And most guys have that, and now it's like, how do you fit into the room, how do you fit in with the guys in the room? Especially in the QB3 role, it's: How quickly can you adjust to new terminology within the same offensive system?"
Also on this episode of QB2, Benkert talked about how he'd fix the NFL preseason, what Aaron Rodgers is like in the QB room, the importance of the QB3 bringing the fun, how each quarterback has his own distinct way of preparing for games, and the effort required to learn all of Rodgers's nuanced cadences.
You can watch the full interview here, and follow Defector on Twitch if you want to be notified for the next episode.