LONDON – It sounds funny to say it feels more like a home game, when it was a 7 ½ hour flight to London but that’s exactly what it does feel like: a home game. Leaving on Thursday evening, the same as they did last year, arriving Friday morning at London’s Heathrow airport. If it’s your first time going to London you don’t know what to expect. You don’t know of all of the Virgin Atlantic employees lined up with placards of the Jaguars logo directing you to your bus. But now here for the fourth year in a row, it all seems routine to the Jaguars.
“Some of the guys who have been here are letting the young guys know how it goes,” Sen’Derrick Marks said after Friday’s practice. “It’s a big crowd at the game. Once you get on the field, it’s all the same.”
Practice on Friday was at Allianz Park, the same place they worked out last year. Routine. Allianz Park is the home to the Saracens Ruby Squad, the reigning English and European champions.
But it was full of Jaguars fans during practice, part of the growing legions of NFL followers who have pledged their allegiance to the Jags.
“You feel it growing,” Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said Friday after practice at his press conference. Same time as last year. “We want to connect with this group. It’s an important group.
“We love playing at home, and then to have the opportunity to come here and play and have that same type of atmosphere where you have a lot of fans supporting you … it’s great.”
Even after a 0-3 start, the support hasn’t wavered. That’s not lost on quarterback Blake Bortles. "I think if you are a Jaguars fan in London you've got to be pretty damn loyal," he said bluntly at his press conference. Same time as last year.
“I think last year getting out to a big early lead was big,” Bortles said. “It got everybody into it. That was cool and if they weren’t [into it], some of them got onto the bandwagon. You could feel the Jags fans here. It was very cool.”
“Everything you do should point to peaking at 2:30 on Sunday,” Defensive Captain Paul Posluszny said. “We know the routine here, it’s what we did last year. Hopefully we can get the same result.”
Because of his triceps injury, Jared Odrick didn’t make the trip. Julius Thomas and Dan Skuta will be game day decisions. Other than those guys, the rest of the players were full go and should play Sunday against the slightly favored (-2 ½) Colts.
“I thought as practice went on the energy of practice grew,” Bradley said. “Today was a little bit sluggish. Tomorrow [Saturday walk through at Wembley] should be better. By Sunday we should be ready.