Wentz, Goff excited to duel
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.”
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz warms -up Sunday in Seattle.