Giants set to face nomadic Rams in London
The Los Angeles Rams have become the nomads of the NFL, and this week their home has been London.
It’s been that kind of year for Jeff Fisher and team.
After getting permission from the league to return from St. Louis to Los Angeles in January, the Rams (3-3) have been on the move.
They’ve spent the offseason, training camp and regular season in three different spots in Southern California. Four of their first six games have been on the road, with stops in San Francisco; Tampa, Florida; Glendale, Arizona; and finally Detroit last weekend.
Instead of heading home after Sunday’s loss to the Lions, Fisher had his team board a plane for England and today’s international series game against the New York Giants (3-3) in a stadium used mostly for rugby.
They have been based in Surrey and worked out there, occasionally getting out for sightseeing.
“We’ve been through a lot of things,” Fisher said. “We were reflecting earlier today on this, in essence, from an organizational standpoint, is ... this is, if you would, this is our sixth home since March, if you take into consideration all the moves, the short moves.
“We’re kind of calling this home right now and we’re going to make the most of it.”
The Giants have taken a different road coming into the game. They posted an emotional late win over Baltimore on Sunday at home on the late heroics of Odell Beckham Jr., and decided to stay in New Jersey.
Most of their pre-game preparation was completed before they boarded a flight to London on Thursday night.
“This is a game where we understand it is London and it is a trip and it is different than what we are accustomed to,” Giants receiver Victor Cruz said. “But it is a business trip at the end of the day. We have to go out and win this football game and come back into the bye on a two-game winning streak and feeling good about ourselves.”
Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines has enjoyed the transient nature of the season.
“Yeah, it’s been wild. It really has,” Gaines said. “A lot of moving, a lot of traveling, but it’s exciting, too. I like to travel. I like to see different things, and getting to come to a place like this is amazing.
“You know, growing up as a child, who would have thought I’d be playing football in London? I’m just excited to be here.”
Some things to watch in the game that will kick off at 9:30 a.m. That’s 6:30 a.m. for those Rams fans back in L.A.
Three of the four starters on the Rams’ defensive line have missed parts of the past two games with injuries. Fisher hopes to have disruptive defensive end Robert Quinn back today. Quinn and William Hayes were a full go at practice Thursday.
Defensive tackle Michael Brockers missed Wednesday and Thursday with a thigh injury.
After his best performance of the season at Detroit, Case Keenum has made it all the way to the Rams’ bye week as their starting quarterback. It’s a surprising development to many who expected the Rams to test No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff early.
Fisher has refused to commit to a timeline for Goff’s debut, but he has acknowledged the rookie could get a series or two at some point in the near future.
After catching eight passes for a career-best 222 yards and two touchdowns, Beckham is iffy this week. He got a hip pointer in the first half against the Ravens and has been limited at practice.
Expect him to play, but if the hip acts up rookie Roger Lewis Jr., who caught his first TD last week, joins Cruz and rookie Sterling Shepard in the pass-happy offense.
The Rams have been limited rushing this year because teams have been packing the box against Todd Gurley , the 2015 Offensive Rookie of the Year. Expect the Giants to do the same thing.
Los Angeles doesn’t have to worry much about New York’s running game. It’s been horrible the past few weeks. There should be plenty of passes.
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) runs away from Baltimore Ravens’ Will Davis (31) for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J.