They are nearly three years removed from the 2016 NFL draft, but Jared Goff and Carson Wentz will be forever linked after the Rams chose Goff over Wentz.
The two quarterbacks, selected Nos. 1 and 2, faced off for the first time last season — and they were scheduled to do it again Sunday at the Coliseum when the Rams play host to the Super Bowl-champion Philadelphia Eagles.
But Wentz’s availability is in doubt because of a back issue.
He did not practice Wednesday because of what coach Doug Pederson described during a Philadelphia news conference as “a little bit of back soreness, a little tightness.” Pederson said the condition was something Wentz has “dealt with” during the season and the Eagles would continue to monitor it.
During a teleconference with Los Angeles reporters, Pederson declined to elaborate. Wentz’s weekly news conference in Philadelphia was postponed.
So instead of Wentz matching up against Goff, it could be Nick Foles.
Last season, the former Rams quarterback came off the bench after Wentz suffered a season-ending knee injury at the Coliseum. Foles led the Eagles to 43-35 victory, and a playoff run that ended with a Super Bowl title.
“Carson’s a great football player, but they also were able to win a Super Bowl with Nick playing really high-level football,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “It doesn’t change anything in terms of our focus, our concentration and our preparation.”
Goff and Wentz are represented by the same agency. They spent time training together before the 2016 draft, and they remain in touch, Goff said.
“We text every once in a while, back and forth,” Goff said. “Just heard today it’s not looking likely that he’ll play. I don’t know the details of that, but was looking forward to it.
“Unfortunately, I don’t know if it will happen, but I wish him the best. I’m sure we’ll talk in the next week or so.”
The Rams acquired Foles in a trade with the Eagles for quarterback Sam Bradford before the 2015 season and signed the quarterback to a two-year, $24.5-million extension. Foles was eventually replaced as the starter by Case Keenum, leaving Foles’ status for 2016 in doubt.
Shortly after they moved to Los Angeles, the Rams traded up for the No. 1 overall pick. Goff and Wentz worked out and interviewed with the Rams — and then the team drafted Goff.
Foles did not attend offseason workouts and was eventually released. He contemplated retirement before signing with the Kansas City Chiefs. Last season, he joined the Eagles and backed up Wentz — until Wentz was injured against the Rams, giving Foles the opportunity to start and eventually win Super Bowl MVP.
Foles started the first two games this season before Wentz became healthy enough to return.
“He’s smart, he’s an accurate passer and just a guy that we’ve got a lot of faith and a lot of trust in as a veteran backup,” Pederson said of Foles. “If he does get an opportunity to play, we’ve got a lot of confidence in him and his teammates do as well.”
Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner was teammates with Foles in 2015. He said the quarterback is often overlooked, but not by players.
“You have a guy that won the Super Bowl: How can you forget that?” Joyner said. “So I think we approach it the same way.
“You’ve got Carson, where he can make a little more plays with his legs. Nick Foles is more of a pocket passer, but when he feels like it, he can move out of the pocket, too, and extend plays.”