Rams are adjusting to time change in London, gearing up for Giants game
Big Ben was among the sights Rams players could take in Tuesday if they ventured into the city by car or train on their scheduled day off.
The iconic bell tower and clock at the Houses of Parliament is one of this city’s most recognizable landmarks.
With a game Sunday against the New York Giants, Rams Coach Jeff Fisher has pushed players to more intently monitor another timepiece of sorts: their body clocks.
The Rams are eight hours ahead of the Pacific Time Zone rhythms they are accustomed to in Southern California.
They arrived in England on Monday morning after an evening flight from Detroit, and spent Monday and Tuesday getting acclimated. The Rams resume practice Wednesday.
“First day we were here, [Fisher] told us it would be smarter to stay up that whole day,” offensive lineman Jamon Brown said Tuesday during a clinic with schoolchildren at Surrey Sports Park. “I don’t know how long we had traveled.
“Everybody was pretty restless, but he advised [us] to stay up that first day, which I think a lot of players did. Now, everybody is starting to get back on track.”
The Rams played in the NFL’s International Series in 2012, losing to the New England Patriots, 45-7, at Wembley Stadium. That was when the Rams franchise was in St. Louis.
“I think we were so excited just to be in London, we didn’t take it as serious as we should,” offensive lineman Rodger Saffold said last week. “So the message this time is this is a business trip.
“Coach Fisher isn’t bringing us a week early just so we can have fun the whole time. He’s bringing us a week early to get us as close to game potential as humanly possible.
“And when we practice, we’re going to show it. We’re not going to distract ourselves.”
West Coast teams have a 2-3 record in the 16 International Series games that have been played since 2005.
This year, the Rams have been on the move more than any NFL team, starting with the franchise’s relocation to Southern California after a 22-year absence. They have practiced in Oxnard, conducted training camp at UC Irvine and are now temporarily based in Thousand Oaks.
They are the home team against the Giants, but this will be the fifth time in seven games they have played away from the Coliseum.
Unlike the Rams, who are in the midst of a 10-day trip, the Giants are practicing at their regular facility and will not arrive in London until Friday morning.
The week abroad is challenging but welcome, Rams rookie receiver Mike Thomas said.
“We’re all traveling together, so were gaining chemistry as we’re moving around,” he said. “We’re just more closer together than anything.”
Said Brown: “We’ve had to lean on each other. A close football team is hard to beat.”
The Rams probably would be tougher to defeat if their rushing attack were performing as anticipated.
Running back Todd Gurley was expected to continue the success he had last season, when he rushed for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns and was the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year.
That has not happened.
Gurley showed some signs of a breakthrough early in the Rams’ loss last week at Detroit, but he was stuffed on a fourth-and-one play at the end of the first half.
Brown said linemen knew that opponents would crowd the line of scrimmage this season to stop Gurley. Through six games, he has not broken a run longer than 16 yards.
But Gurley is close to breaking out, Brown said.
“I feel like it’s getting better,” he said. “I feel like we’re on the brink of making that happen.”
Sunday, in the first NFL game at Twickenham Stadium, would be an opportune time.
The Giants rank 12th in the NFL in rushing defense, giving up 96.8 yards per game.
The Rams are seeking to end a two-game losing streak in their final game before an Oct. 30 bye.
“We don’t want to go to the bye week on a loss,” Thomas said, “because everybody would be hanging their head. We can’t hang our heads, so we’re looking forward to getting this win.”
The Rams are trying to embrace the opportunities that come with being far away from home.
“It gives you a sense of relief to kind of be able to get out and get away from what we’re used to and see something new,” Brown said. “It gives us an opportunity to take a deep breath and take it for what it is.
“Out here, we plan to just slow everything down, get back to the basics of what we do and go win this football game.”
Twickenham Stadium is the home of English rugby. With a seating capacity of 82,000, it is billed as the world’s largest dedicated rugby union venue. Asked who was tougher, American football players or rugby players who don’t wear helmets or pads, Thomas said, “I think they’re tougher than us. We’ve got on equipment. They’re just ready, they got it.” … The Rams will conduct practices on the grounds of their hotel, about an hour outside London.
Go beyond the scoreboard
Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.