Rams make their last big move in trip to Detroit, Lon­don

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

In a year of con­stant mo­tion, the Los An­ge­les Rams are mak­ing their last big move. The Rams (3-2) headed out on a 10-day, two-game road trip to Detroit and Lon­don on Fri­day, fill­ing a cou­ple of jets with sev­eral tons of equip­ment, sev­eral dozen play­ers, coaches and sup­port per­son­nel.

Af­ter their cross-coun­try fran­chise re­lo­ca­tion last win­ter and a peri­patetic sum­mer spent in sev­eral spots around the Los An­ge­les area, the Rams still have to get through a Mid­west road trip and a sub­se­quent week in Eng­land.

And then this team can re­ally un­pack. “We’re mov­ing the whole fran­chise again, for a week,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “But ev­ery­thing is in place right now. We’ll be fine.”

The Rams’ 2016 odyssey be­gan in St. Louis, where the team an­nounced plans to re­turn home to Los An­ge­les in Jan­uary. Af­ter re­lo­ca­tion was ap­proved by the NFL, they held their off­sea­son train­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in Ox­nard, Cal­i­for­nia, start­ing in April, be­fore mov­ing two hours south to Irvine for train­ing camp in late July. On La­bor Day week­end, they set­tled into their brand-new train­ing com­plex in Thou­sand Oaks. Oh, and they also moved into the Coli­seum, their home on Sun­days for at least the next three years while their bil­lion-dol­lar sta­dium rises in In­gle­wood. Ev­ery­thing has gone re­mark­ably smoothly thanks to ex­ten­sive plan­ning, and the Rams ex­pect their Euro­pean trip to be just as good. “The op­er­a­tions side and the ad­min­is­tra­tive side, they’ve done a tremen­dous job of plan­ning in ad­vance, tak­ing care of the play­ers and the coaches,” Fisher said. “When you have to do all these things that we’ve been do­ing, that’s first and fore­most.”

Af­ter the Rams fin­ished prac­tice Fri­day, the play­ers had blue crates in front of their lock­ers with their names and a Union Jack on the side. Cer­tain pairs of cleats and play­ing gear are be­ing sent ahead for the Lon­don leg of this jour­ney, along with a per­sonal bag for ev­ery­body on the trip.

“In our busi­ness, un­cer­tainty can be­come a dis­trac­tion,” Fisher said. “You want to deal with things ahead of time, so we’ve done that. It’s like, ‘OK, have your bag here be­tween this time and that time. It’ll be there in Lon­don when you get there. But now, let’s fo­cus on Detroit.’ We have all the pass­ports locked up in the safety de­posit box right now.”

The Rams’ trip to Detroit (2-3) would be chal­leng­ing even with­out that whole Eng­land trip af­ter­ward. This is the Rams’ first ex­pe­ri­ence as a West Coast team trav­el­ing east for a game start­ing at 10 a.m. Pa­cific time.

Those early-start­ing games are sta­tis­ti­cally dif­fi­cult for West Coast teams, but the Rams ad­justed their meet­ing times this week. They’ll ad­just even more to com­bat the ef­fect of jet­lag when

they ar­rive in Lon­don on Mon­day morn­ing - which will feel like the mid­dle of Sun­day night to the play­ers.

“We have a plan in place,” Fisher said. “We’ll land, and we’ll move them around.” This trip is slightly dif­fer­ent than the NFL’s pre­vi­ous jaunts across the pond. In­stead of Wem­b­ley, the Rams will face the New York Gi­ants in south­west Lon­don at sold-out Twick­en­ham Sta­dium, Eng­land’s 107-year-old an­ces­tral home of rugby.

The Rams’ ho­tel is far out­side ur­ban Lon­don as well, which will make it more dif­fi­cult to en­joy the city - some­thing that’s just fine with Fisher and the coaches re­quired to keep the Rams fo­cused on win­ning. “They’ve been em­pha­siz­ing it’s a busi­ness trip,” de­fen­sive line­man Michael Brock­ers said.

“We’ll play any­where. They’ve got the same grass there as we have here. We’ve done it be­fore.”

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