Rams Ready for London

Posted Oct 22, 2012

In the midst of perhaps the busiest day of the NFL season for he and his team, Rams coach Jeff Fisher stepped to the podium Monday afternoon to discuss Sunday’s loss to the Packers and what awaits his team this week as it travels to London to take on the Patriots.

As Fisher offered his opening statements, he caught a little reverb and paused for the issue to be fixed. Considering all that was going on at ContinuityX Training Center on Monday, it’s understandable there’d be at least one glitch.

According to Fisher, though, that was the only one that he’d seen Monday, an amazing feat all things considered.

“The organization has done a great job with all of the logistics,” Fisher said. “Everybody is prepared and ready to go. Thus far, we’ve had only one glitch and it’s this. If this is all we have, then we are in good shape.”

Indeed, the Rams will hop on a plane at 6:30 tonight to head across the pond to London to begin the week of preparation for Sunday’s meeting with New England. That’s made the past 24 hours an extremely difficult and busy time.

After Sunday’s 30-20 loss to Green Bay at the Edward Jones Dome, the Rams immediately got to work on breaking down that game so they could speed up the process of looking ahead to what awaits this week.

Fisher and his staff watched the film of Sunday’s loss and broke it all down as is the usual post game custom. Despite the outcome and the disappointing performance on third down, the lack of touchdowns and the inability to create turnovers, Fisher and Co. saw plenty of good things as well.

“We have been talking about, on a weekly basis, improving,” Fisher said. “That’s been the emphasis from the start. There were some things in this game that we can get excited about. There was some individual play and efforts and some improvement.”

There was plenty to like in Sunday’s game despite the outcome including a run defense that was stout again, holding Green Bay to 70 yards on 26 carries, a breakthrough performance from rookie defensive tackle Michael Brockers (seven tackles and his first career sack) and another 50-plus yard reception for rookie wideout Chris Givens.

Perhaps most notable to Fisher was the performance of a revamped offensive line that had two new starters on the left side in the form of tackle Joe Barksdale and guard Shelley Smith.

Barksdale subbed for injured starter Wayne Hunter and Smith replaced the since-released Quinn Ojinnaka. Against the defense with the most sacks in the league, Smith and Barksdale did more than hold their own.

“I thought both Joe and Shelley did a really nice job,” Fisher said. “Considering this was Shelley’s first start in a regular season game, we looked there and thought we improved up there on the offensive line. That’s the big thing is just being able to improve as a football team. Overall, there were some really good things to take from this.”

With another tough opponent in the Patriots looming, there isn’t much time for the Rams to focus on anything but getting acclimated to a new environment or digest the good or the bad from Sunday. 

“Our mentality as a football team is that we can play with anyone on any Sunday and we’re going to take that same mentality into the game next week,” quarterback Sam Bradford said.

The Rams are scheduled to arrive in London on Tuesday morning at 8:30 (their time). From there, the players will head to a NFL Play 60 community event before heading back to the team hotel to attempt to adjust to the time change.

London is six hours ahead of the Central Standard Time zone and that will provide a tough task for the Rams as they look to adjust.

“They’ll have time,” Fisher said. “Our biggest challenge is just acclimating to the time change and the long flight. So we started discussing it last Monday and Tuesday. We had a lengthy meeting here just moments ago. There are challenges associated with going across the pond as they say but we’re looking forward to it. They’ll have some time. We’ll follow a normal schedule as close as we can through the week.”

Making things a bit easier for a team moving its entire football operations overseas is the fact that they will have the benefit of doing their weekly work at Arsenal Soccer Club’s facilities.

That means they’ll have access to weight rooms, meeting rooms, practice fields and anything else needed to keep things as normal as possible in terms of a practice routine.
“We are actually very fortunate that we get to train at the Arsenal facility,” Fisher said. “That is completely self-contained. But administratively we take the entire system, our network. We’ll go over there, leave late this afternoon and the coaches start game planning as soon as we arrive.”

In other words, though the Rams are going to be strangers in a strange land, they’re going to do everything possible to keep things normal.

“We’ll practice at a normal time,” Fisher said. “Once we get on the airplane we are on London time.”