After a day of practice on Thursday and then a six-hour flight from the East Coast, the Jets staff could have been forgiven for wanting to take the morning off. But as soon as they left Heathrow Airport on Friday morning, it was straight back to work for the entire team. One of the things coach Todd Bowles talked about in his press conference was the need to stick as closely as possible to the team’s normal routines. He did, however, say that they were making the effort to operate on London time due to the early kickoff on Sunday (2:30pm BST/9:30am ET).
“We’re trying to switch the time and the schedule to make sure we’re on London time,” he said. “That will be a little bit of a change, that’ll probably take two nights of sleep [to accomplish].” Special teams was the primary focus for much of the practice session during the time it was open to the media, with particular attention given to the Jets’ onside kick recovery. Meanwhile, as the quarterbacks practiced taking snaps, backup QB Geno Smith hurt a finger on his throwing hand, which could see Bryce Petty promoted to QB2 on gameday.
“It’s going to be a challenge”
The Jets are used to playing in front of big crowds back in New Jersey – their MetLife Stadium is the second-largest in the NFL, with a capacity of 82,500 – but playing at Wembley is quite a different beast to anything to which they’re accustomed. Nevertheless, it’s a road game for the Jets, so they’re not expecting to be playing in front of a home crowd. Conversely, it’s technically a home game for the Dolphins, but the number of their fans at Wembley on Sunday will be a fraction of what they could expect back in Miami.
Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis thinks that factor could play into his team’s hands, but he refused to get carried away, saying “I can’t just sit [here] and say it’s advantage to us. It’s going to be a challenge.” Wide receiver Brandon Marshall was a little cagier about their prospects. “It’s not an advantage for us,” he said. “But if I was a Dolphin player, I’d be a little disappointed [at not playing in Miami].”
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick made the point that both teams have had to make the trip over to London, so the result could hinge on who makes the adjustment to the new environment the best. He said: “It’s been a tough adjustment, but we’re on an even playing field”. But Coach Bowles said the trip over from the States would be no excuse for a sub-par performance at Wembley. “Everything’s equal on both sides, we’ve just got to play our game,” he said. “We’re not going to use travelling or sleep as an excuse, we’ve just got to show up and play.”
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