Connected by NFL draft, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz renew friendly rivalry
Eric D. Williams
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- A focus of heavy, pre-draft debate five years ago, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz were selected 1-2 in the 2016 draft.
And both quarterbacks have went on to experience success in the NFL.
Selected No. 1 overall out of Cal, the 25-year-old Goff helped to lead the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl after the 2018 season.
Picked No. 2 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles, Wentz actually suffered an ACL left knee injury in his first match-up with Goff in December of 2017; Wentz watched from the sideline two months later as his backup Nick Foles engineered a Super Bowl win for Philadelphia over the New England Patriots.
Both have earned invitations to the Pro Bowl during their five seasons in the NFL, Goff twice and Wentz once.
The two signal callers who are both represented by Rep 1 Sports and trained in Southern California together during the pre-draft process will meet again for the first time in a full game on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field, as the Eagles host the Rams.
Both players said they share occasional texts during the year, but do not connect often because they play and live in different areas of the country.
“I have a lot of respect for him as a player and as a guy,” Wentz said when asked about Goff by reporters in Philadelphia. “I consider him a friend. But the rest of that – the rivalry and all of that stuff – that’s neither here or there, for both of us. I just enjoy playing against him, competing against him. And it should be another fun one.
For Goff and the rivalry, the feeling is mutual.
“He’s a hell of a player,” Goff said. “He’s done a great job and we’ve kind of had this friendly rivalry ever since we got into the league -- just being in the same class, training together and always just want to be competitive.
“I’m sure he’s thinking the same thing when he plays us. It’s no different. At the same time though, I’m playing their defense and he’s playing our defense and I wish him the best -- hope he plays well enough, but we still win.”
Wentz will look to redeem himself after being sacked eight times in a humbling, season-opening loss at Washington, 27-17.
However, the 27-year-old Wentz won’t get any sympathy from Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, who has faced the North Dakota State product before during his time as a defensive assistant with the Chicago Bears.
Like Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott last week, Wentz is athletic and mobile; Staley knows how tough the 6-foot-5, 240-pound athlete can be on a defense.
“He’s a big man,” Staley said. “So, very similar players and they’re both competitors. Much like Dak, Carson really shows up in the ‘got to have it situations’ -- third-down, red area, two minute, very much like Dak.
“It’s going to take a team effort to make sure that this guy doesn’t have one of his best games because he's certainly capable of beating you at any time.”
Rams head coach Sean McVay said he’s more focused on getting his team another win on Sunday, not the match-up between the two quarterbacks.
“Jared is going against Philly's defense,” McVay said. “Carson’s going against our defense. Their success is completely independent of one another for how they can perform within their role.
“Ultimately, you’re still trying to get it done and lead your team to a victory. I think those are fun narratives to talk about for you guys, probably, but it’s not something that affects our thought processes in the least bit.”