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