LONDON – Stefen Wisniewski has been through this a couple times before, and he knows better than anybody how grueling it is.
So his message to his teammates as the Eagles prepared for the first overseas regular-season game in franchise history was to keep the routine as close to normal as possible.
Even though that’s almost impossible.
Try to get on as normal a schedule as possible. Try to have as much of a normal Friday as possible. Try to go to bed at night and sleep on the plane. Do your routine as much as possible. Whatever that is.
Every player is different. Your Friday routine, your Saturday routine … Sunday’s game day should be the most normal day really. Just keep it as much the same as you can.
The Eagles face the Jaguars Sunday at Wembley, and the real challenges are the seven-hour flight and the five-hour time difference.
Because London is five hours ahead of Philadelphia, the team loses five hours on the way across the Atlantic. They’ll have until Sunday to bounce back.
The Eagles flew out of Philadelphia after practice Thursday evening and were scheduled to arrive in London on Friday morning.
As soon as they land, they are headed right to practice at the London Irish training ground rugby field in Lower Sunbury, along the banks of the River Thames.
That practice will start around 2:30 p.m. Friday, or about 9:30 a.m. EST. It’s quite an adjustment.
“It’s definitely tough,” Wisniewski said. “Definitely tough. Maybe a little caffeine will help in the morning there. Whatever you’ve got to do to wake yourself up and get ready to go. Definitely a challenging practice. But we’ve got a lot of pros on this team, and I’m sure we’ll be fine.”
Wisniewski has played twice in London, first with the Raiders and then with the Jaguars.
In 2014, the Raiders lost to the Dolphins 38-14 at Wembley, and in 2015 the Jaguars beat the Bills 34-31.
Some teams fly out to London on Monday and spend the week acclimating to the time change and everything else. Other teams – like the Eagles this year – reduce the time in England as much as possible.
Wiz has done both.
“I think going late’s better,” he said. “Just the more time you can get in your home environment’s better. Less time for guys to go sightseeing is better. It feels like more a business trip if you’re just in and out. Week-long just kind of throws you off a little bit I think.”
The Eagles have no sightseeing trips planned and no events related to this trip other than a brief community event immediately after practice Friday on the same fields – a flag football game with local kids.
Saturday will be a typical Saturday, with positional meetings, some last-minute film work and a team meal.
It’ll just be in a different country.
“That’s definitely the biggest thing, trying to eliminate the distractions and trying to treat it as much like a normal week as you can,” Wisniewski said.
“Whatever you normally do with your film study and taking care of your body, just try to do all those things as normal as you can.”
One oddity of the London games is the crowd.
The NFL is expecting over 90,000 fans at Wembley on Sunday, and while there will be a ton of Eagles fans there and certainly some Jaguars fans a good portion of the Londoners who attend will be just football fans.
It makes for an odd dynamic.
“Usually mixed crowd,” Wisniewski said. “A bunch of different jerseys going on. Sometimes you get cheering for everything. It’s not quite the same as a normal game where the fans are all cheering for one team.”
Both teams are 3-4 and have lost three of their last four games. Both teams defeated the Giants in East Rutherford. Both teams lost in embarrassing fashion last weekend.
Most Eagles players who talked about it said they aren’t huge fans of the London trip, mainly because of the arduous travel.
Wisniewski was asked if he enjoyed his London experiences.
“When we won, yeah,” he said.
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