JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP)The Jacksonville Jaguars are hoping to avoid another “London hangover.”
The Jaguars are 3-6 in games following a trip across the pond and have lost four of their past five. The lone victory came last year as Jacksonville rallied from a 17-0 deficit to stun the Las Vegas Raiders.
Coach Doug Pederson reminded his players about how lethargic they looked in the first 20 minutes of that one. Effort and energy are more of a concern this year because Jacksonville played consecutive games in London and spent 10 days overseas.
“The jet leg is real,” Pederson said Wednesday.
Pederson is trying to combat it by tweaking practices and getting his guys home earlier each night.
“Spend more time in walkthroughs, kind of slow the pace down a little bit, try to get their bodies and minds kind of rejuvenated again,” Pederson said.
Several players noted how they are sluggishly reacclimating after returning home early Monday.
“I’m getting tired earlier in the day,” quarterback Trevor Lawrence said. “I’m waking up earlier, which isn’t a bad thing. I went to bed at like 9 o’clock last night, so it’s not the worst thing. But, yeah, I’m kind of getting adjusted still but feeling pretty good.”
Added receiver Christian Kirk said. “Doing my best to get on a normal regimen.”
The Jaguars (3-2) host AFC South rival Indianapolis (3-2) on Sunday. It’s the third time in 10 London trips that Jacksonville played the following week. The team chose not to have a bye last year, too, and it showed against the Raiders.
“It’s definitely something that Doug mentioned to us, and it was a great point of not having that London hangover,” Kirk said. “It’s important for us. It just goes back to us bringing that energy that we had and continuing that over here.”
Jacksonville beat Atlanta 23-7 in a “home game” at Wembley Stadium two weeks ago and then switched hotels and knocked off Buffalo 25-20 as the visiting team at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. It was the perfect outcome for a not-so-ideal setup.
“Maybe I’m the wrong person to ask, but I don’t like going over there,” veteran guard Tyler Shatley. “It just hurts my body. It’s time away from the kids. Then silver lining is you get some quiet, but other than that? The sleep’s not great. My body hurts. It’s a long time away from the family.”
The Jaguars might want to get used to it. As the NFL looks to expand its international footprint and with Jacksonville wanting to extend its commitment to playing one home game a year at Wembley, there’s speculation that back-to-back games in London could be part of the small-market franchise’s foreseeable future.
Handling the travel without any issues might never be easy, but it also seems different for everyone.
“Well, this is honestly my first time ever going to London,” receiver Calvin Ridley said. “And then coming back, I haven’t been in the NFL for a while, so this is my first time going to London and having a game back here. So I don’t know how I should feel, but I feel normal. I’m ready to help my team.”
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