Wentz, Goff ex­cited to duel

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - SPORTS - By Bob Grotz bgrotz@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @BobGrotz on Twit­ter

ANA­HEIM, CALIF. » Jared Goff doesn’t re­mem­ber a lot of de­tails about his 2016 pre­draft visit to Philly other than it was the day the Los An­ge­les Rams traded up to the first pick in that draft.

And no, the Ea­gles didn’t im­me­di­ately say, “thanks for stop­ping by, we’ll get you a cab to the air­port.” Still, Goff and Ea­gles coun­ter­part Car­son Wentz, who came off the board 1-2 in the draft, knew what was go­ing down. After all, they trained to­gether be­fore the draft and were rep­re­sented by the same agency, Rep 1 Sports.

Well, it all comes full cir­cle for these cats Sun­day at the Coli­seum in Los An­ge­les — wild­fires will­ing.

“We’re good friends now so I think we’re pretty ex­cited to fi­nally face-off,” Wentz said Wed­nes­day. “We’ve had a lot of cross­over film this year, so I’ve seen a hand­ful of his games on tape. He’s hav­ing a great year. We’ve texted back and forth a lit­tle bit, so it will be fun for us.”

Wentz has thrown a league-lead­ing 29 touch­down passes, Goff 20. The Ea­gles are 10-2, the Rams 9-3. A show­down like this doesn’t al­ways come off so smoothly for quar­ter­backs se­lected with the first and sec­ond over­all picks. Jameis Win­ston and Mar­cus Mar­i­ota in 2015 hasn’t been much of a show. The same with An­drew Luck and Robert Grif­fin in 2012. As long as we’re in South­ern Cali, Pey­ton Man­ning held up his end in the 1998 draft while Ryan Leaf – “don’t talk to me, al­right? Knock it off!” … did not.

Goff and Wentz is just what the NFL needs in this time of fad­ing rat­ings and drop­ping pop­u­lar­ity, among other is­sues.

“I think it’s fun,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said. “I think when it’s the Rams ver­sus the Ea­gles, ev­ery­one will make it about Jared ver­sus Car­son. But what is ex­cit­ing about it is you’ve got two young ex­cit­ing quar­ter­backs that are do­ing a nice job lead­ing their re­spec­tive of­fenses, and they’ve been able to have a lot of suc­cess up to this point. I think, just for the league, when you talk about how im­por­tant and how mar­ketable that quar­ter­back po­si­tion is, you look at two great in­di­vid­u­als that are great hu­man be­ings, great lead­ers and great rep­re­sen­ta­tives of each or­ga­ni­za­tion. And for them to be play­ing pro­duc­tive foot­ball, it sure makes for a fun matchup and look­ing for­ward to it.”

Wentz and Goff have plenty of weapons to do their things, start­ing at run­ning back. The Ea­gles’ com­mit­tee of LeGar­rette Blount, Jay Ajayi and Corey Cle­ment dom­i­nated un­til last week in Seat­tle. Rams run­ning back Todd Gur­ley ranks among the league lead­ers in al­most ev­ery cat­e­gory. He’s a typ­i­cal run from 1,000 yards.

Wentz has kept an eye on Goff, pri­mar­ily be­cause of their friend­ship. And he’s seen a lot of cross­over film, the Ea­gles and Rams play­ing six com­mon op­po­nents.

“I think the big­gest thing is he’s ac­cu­rate,” Wentz said. “He makes some throws that are im­pres­sive and he’s pretty de­ci­sive. It’s fun to see how far he’s come this year. I think we’re both kind of sim­i­lar. We’re al­ways study­ing, we’re al­ways so busy.”

Wentz said he and Goff texted back and forth about the cross­over film.

Goff is much more sub­dued, but don’t let that fool you. Ea­gles de­fen­sive tackle Eli­jah Qualls says Goff is the same tough-minded guy he’s known since their child­hoods.

“The area that I grew up in, I ac­tu­ally was on a seven-on-seven team with Jared Goff,” Qualls said. “He went to high school like 30 min­utes from me so I ac­tu­ally did some train­ing with him back when we were in high school. And then he went to Cal, but we were good friends. He’s tal­ented, he’s smart and hon­estly, he’s one of the most ag­gres­sive quar­ter­backs I’ve ever been around. I like to mess with a lot of quar­ter­backs. Es­pe­cially when we were in high school. I used to al­ways talk mess to them to try to get in their heads. He was prob­a­bly one of the only ones that ever ac­tu­ally talked back.”

Goff was po­lite but came off like he loathed con­fer­ence calls. He low-keyed the matchup with Wentz this week­end.

“I think it’s a re­ally fun story line for you guys,” Goff said on a con­fer­ence call. “For us we’re fo­cused on try­ing to win the game. And so, we have to pre­pare our­selves as best we can to beat the Ea­gles.”

Goff, nonethe­less, clearly re­spects his coun­ter­part for any num­ber of rea­sons.

“I’m very happy for him and ev­ery­thing he’s ac­com­plished so far this year, and through his career,” Goff said. “Ev­ery­thing he has, has all been earned. From my ex­pe­ri­ence get­ting to know him a lit­tle bit, I re­mem­ber how hard he works.”

What­ever it is, sec­ond player se­lected or what­not, Wentz seems much more pumped about com­pet­ing against Goff.

“I think it’s ex­cit­ing any time two young quar­ter­backs like us face­off,” Wentz said. “I think it’s def­i­nitely ex­cited for the league. Jared and I both are ex­cited about it and it will be fun.”

JOHN FROSCHAUER — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Philadel­phia Ea­gles quar­ter­back Car­son Wentz warms -up Sun­day in Seat­tle.

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