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On the Road Again, Rams Gear Up for London

For most sports clubs, an 11-day road trip from Los Angeles to Jacksonville to London and back might seem a little stressful — daunting, even. But not for the Rams.

Instead they look at the two game road series — one that will take them across two continents and more than 10,000 miles in the process — as both "an opportunity and an advantage."

"It's a great opportunity for us to travel together as a team and continue to work on staying connected," head coach Sean McVay said last week. "It's not something that we're ever going to make an excuse for. Whether our routine is off a little bit [or not], we have an opportunity to go travel together and our first goal is to try to go out and win a football game."

And win they did. On Sunday, Los Angeles took home its third-straight road victory of the season over the Jaguars at Everbank Field. In 2017, the Rams are 3-0 on the road for the first time since 2001 and 4-2 overall for the first time since 2006.

It's a trend that has led some players to believe they might even perform better when pushed out of their element.

"I don't even think we should play at home," running back Todd Gurley said after Sunday's game with a laugh. "We've gotten all the wins on the road. That's been a good thing for us."

With one win under their belt this week, the Rams will now remain on the road in Florida until Thursday. From there they will travel to the United Kingdom, where they will face the Cardinals at Twickenham Stadium. Los Angeles' next true home game will not be until Week 10 when it takes on the Texans on Nov. 12.

And while last season the team travelled to London for a week before playing against the Giants, this year McVay decided on a more gradual approach. The goal? To best "mimic and emulate" the Rams' schedule back home in Los Angeles.

"I think the thing that we've tried to do is that you look into this stuff and we've got people that that's their area of expertise," McVay said. "[You ask yourself] 'What's going to be the best way to try to alleviate the amount of miles you're traveling, get the players acclimated and adjusted to a new time zone?'" 

"I just think [the goal] is being away while also trying to keep that sameness in terms of the schedule," he continued. "And that's really kind of what we're doing, we're just doing it in Jacksonville."

Though the Rams will call a relaxing beachside resort in the Jacksonville area their home for the next few days, they will still carry on much of the same loaded routine as they would at home.  

The team had meetings on Monday and was off on Tuesday, per usual. On Wednesday and Thursday, the Rams will hold practice on the soccer fields at the University of North Florida, before boarding a plane across the pond. And finally, they will hold a light non-padded session at 4 p.m. London time on Friday afternoon.  

"It's going to be a grind," running back Malcolm Brown said of the team schedule. "A lot of travel, but we're not worried about it. We're going to work hard and keep practicing the way coach McVay challenges us every single day, to practice how we play."

"It's going to be a little different, an adjustment because we are in a different city," linebacker Cory Littleton said. "But at the end of the day it's the same routine, we're going to practice and get ready to try and get a win next week."

While the road trip through different time zones will undoubtedly be tough for the entire team, McVay says the most important thing is focusing on this week as a business trip and a chance to take home yet another victory on the road.

"We'll continue to keep that one-game-at-a-time mindset, but we've also got to have a big picture perspective in mind," McVay said. "We can enjoy ourselves a little bit in terms of where we're going to be able to stay. But make no mistake about it, we're going out there with every intention to try to go win a football game against two very good teams." 

And with one game down, the Rams will need to be at their best on Sunday as they gear up take on a division rival in front of thousands of British fans across the pond.

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