Quit Jared Goff. Get in… * check notes *… John Wolford?
The Rams have a chance to secure a playoff spot Sunday afternoon, but they will have to do it without Goff at center; Goff underwent thumb surgery to repair a shattered and dislocated thumb, an injury he sustained in the Rams’ Week 16 matchups against the Seahawks.
Now, the Rams’ playoff hopes rest on the shoulder pads of quarterback John Wolford, who is playing in the first NFL game of his career.
Wolford, a product of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, signed with the Rams in 2019 and made a steady rise to the active roster until 2020. While he’s only been in the league since 2018, this is his first NFL action, and it’s The first time since Kyle Orton in 2013 that a quarterback will debut for his new team in Week 17 with a playoff spot on the line.
Here’s what you need to know about the Rams’ last hope (sort of) for the 2020 NFL playoffs:
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Who is John Wolford?
Wolford, the 25-year-old Texan, attended Wake Forest between 2014 and 2017. As a Demon Deacon, Wolford set many school records as a senior in 2017, including touchdown passes (29) and yards (3,192). He left Wake Forest as one of the school’s most prolific passersby.
By signing with the Jets as an drafted free agent prior to the 2018 season, Wolford would not make the team leave camp, eventually heading to the AAF as the quarterback for the Arizona Hotshots in 2019.
In his only season with the Hotshots, the only season the league and the team existed, Wolford throw 1,617 yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions in eight league games. Wolford’s 14 touchdown passes set the pace for the league, drawing the attention of the Rams.
Wolford was hired and remained a member of the Rams scouting team in 2019 and was fired from the practice team, until the Rams re-signed him at the end of the season, signing him to a reserve / future contract for the 2020 season.
Wolford’s work ethic has already garnered the attention of some Rams stars.
” I’ve been a fan of his. Just his preparation, just watching him work and the routines he goes through every day, you’d think he’s the starting quarterback already, honestly,” Los Angeles lineman Aaron Donald told S I. ” I’ve seen him during the bye week when I was walking to my car for the license, he was walking to the field with a helmet and shoulder pads, holding a soccer ball and turning it in his hands saying, ‘Okay AD, see you later. ‘
“He’s having the opportunity to step up and play a huge role in helping us win this game. And I’m confident.”
Rams coach Sean McVay also praised Wolford’s preparation and shares the same confidence in Wolford.
” I trust John, and I also trust the other 10 players around him and I understand what the guys need to do to step up,” McVay said via the Cardinals website. “We have to go do it. We have to do it collectively, but, man, what a great opportunity to respond. We’re going to put things in there and see what the hell happens.”
Los Angeles clinches a playoff spot with a win over the Cardinals on Sunday or a loss to the Bears.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.