Rams QB John Wolford confident ahead of NFL debut vs. Cardinals – NFL.com
If you click on John Wolford’s stats page, it reads “NO RESULTS AVAILABLE” in big, bold letters. It’s not a filter problem or a loading issue. The 25-year-old quarterback has taken zero NFL regular-season snaps in his career.
Wolford doesn’t have time to crawl or use a walking assist. No, the Los Angeles Rams quarterback must run from his first snap, as he makes his NFL debut in a win-and-in Week 17 bout against the Arizona Cardinals.
After planning a finance career, the Wake Forest product put aside a banking gig to take a shot as an NFL QB. Undrafted in 2018, Wolford got a call from the New York Jets, where he spent the preseason. Then he made a mark in the AAF with the Arizona Hotshots, completing 63.1 percent of his passes for 1,617 yards (second-most in the league), 7.8 yards per attempt with an AAF-high 14 touchdowns with seven interceptions and a 95.9 QB rating.
Following his stint in the defunct league, Wolford landed as Jared Goff’s backup in 2019. With Sean McVay as coach, there isn’t a much better landing spot for a young QB to work every day. After Goff underwent surgery on his thumb this week, Wolford’s first career snaps will come in a high-pressure situation.
“It’s been a fun journey getting to this point,” Wolford said Wednesday, via the Associated Press. “It’s a lot of hard work, and I’m confident in the time I’ve spent that has gotten me here. I’m confident in my capabilities as a player. I know I can spin it. I know how to make the throws, and then mentally it’s about making the right decisions.”
If you’re looking for trivia heading into Sunday’s matchup, there is this excellent nugget on Wolford: Entering Week 17, he has 22 fewer NFL pass attempts (0) in his career than Rams punter Johnny Hekker (13-of-22, 184 pass yards, 1 TD, 1 INT in career).
The high stakes don’t fret the former Demon Deacon.
“I’m just going to put my head down and work to the best of my ability,” Wolford said. “Whatever happens, I’ll be able to sleep at night. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity.”
Wolford will become the 25th QB to make his first career start in Week 17 (since the NFL moved to a 16-game season in 1978). The previous 24 have a 5-19 W-L record, but each of the last two has won (Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes in 2017 at DEN and Carolina’s Kyle Allen in 2018 at NO).
It’s a new challenge for McVay. Goff has started all but one game of the coach’s tenure in L.A., a Week 17 game in 2017 when the starter rested. Sean Mannion got the start that day with the Rams already having clinched the NFC West.
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