As the assembled local and international media filed into “The Greenhouse” on the grounds of The Grove where the Jaguars are staying and practicing, a definite chill was in the air and the occasional sprinkle fell from the sky as the sun peeked in and out from behind passing clouds.
“It’s a lovely day isn’t it,” a hostess said at the door with all sincerity. Since it is November and we’re outside the city of London it actually could qualify as a “lovely” day for this time of year. This trip for the Jaguars is two weeks later than last year, so the change in the season is more defined this time around.
“It’s fine,” Allen Hurns said when asked about the weather. “Just a little different than home this time of year but no big deal.”
Hurns was appreciative of the help he’s gotten from the veteran players preparing for this trip. “Cecil (Shorts) and Cyp (Jonathan Cyprien) told us what to look for, how to prepare our bodies as professional athletes so it’s been good.”
With a day and a half to get acclimated, the Jaguars went back to work on their custom built field on the grounds at The Grove on Wednesday.
“My mind is but my body’s not,” Sen’Derrick Marks answered with a chuckle when asked if he had settled into the time change. “But I’ll be right by Sunday,” he added. If last year is any indication, Marks said the time here early in the week is a plus for adjusting, and coming a day earlier is even better. “Leaving right after the game and flying at night is better,” he told me on Monday. “Getting that rest and being able to sleep on the way over helps.” Forty-seven Jaguars players were given the first class lie-flat cabin seats for the trip over as the coaches moved back to ‘upper class” on the charter.
Starting with Wednesday, the Jaguars will have a “normal” schedule in the UK, practicing, meeting, eating and sleeping at the same times they would back home.
“It makes it seem as normal as possible,” Blake Bortles said during his press conference. “Meeting, sleeping, eating, practicing the same as home is all part of the routine.”
The players all seem to appreciate the non-scheduled time as well. Some spend time in the player’s lounge on video games, others play Ping-Pong and some sit in the “meal room” just whiling the time away with conversation.
“I noticed that a lot of guys are just hanging out together,” Gus Bradley said when asked if this trip makes the team a more close-knit group. “And not in their regular groups. Different guys are sitting together. I see that and that’s good. We’re already a close team, but maybe this will make it even better.”
Bortles agreed, “It’s like training camp just hanging around with the guys. It definitely makes us a closer team.”
Notes: Cecil Shorts stepped out of practice with a tight hamstring. Marqis Lee rolled his ankle in practice and was limited in his workout. Brandon Linder worked on the side but was held out of practice. If he can’t play the Jaguars will look at Shatley and McClendon at the RG spot. Josh Scobee said he expects the grass to be a little higher at Wembley stadium, similar to the practice field so it’s important to pick the right cleats for the game. Bradley said DeMarco Murray of the Cowboys is the rare combination of speed and “can make people miss.” Marks said Murray is “hard to bring down.” Bortles noted that the Cowboys on defense “Don’t do much, but what they do, they do very well.” Blake said that OC Jedd Fisch and Chad Henne have helped him look at other options when he turns the ball over. “If I don’t ask them, they’ll tell me.”
It’s consistently about 5 to 8 degrees (F) colder where the Jaguars are practicing this week as compared to London. Temperatures at their practice facility tonight are expected to go just below freezing. Between a 50 and 80% chance of rain is predicted for the rest of the week both where the Jaguars are staying and in London for the game. The forecast is for just around 50 degrees (F) at kickoff and going down from there.