RENTON, Wash. – Going overseas to play a regular-season game for the first time in franchise history, the Seattle Seahawks did as expected for their trip to England – looking at studies, analyzing options of when to leave and when to arrive and how to keep the week as normal as possible.
Added into that mix of planning was coach Pete Carroll reaching out to an old friend who became accustomed to making the trip to London on a yearly basis.
Carroll said he spoke with former Jacksonville coach and current Los Angeles Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley extensively about how to manage the trip. Bradley made the journey once a year for his four seasons as the Jaguars’ head coach, a job he got after four seasons as the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator under Carroll.
Carroll said the message Bradley relayed was making sure the distractions didn’t become overwhelming.
“They had made it through the difficulties really and they had become so familiar,” Carroll said. “It was making sure that everyone was focused and not distracted by the trip and the event of being in a foreign country and all that kind of stuff. Just so there was a process of normal focus going into game time, they were concerned about that always.”
Seattle will practice on Wednesday at home before packing up and heading to the airport for a roughly nine-hour flight that’s scheduled to land in London at midday Thursday. The Seahawks are leaving a day earlier than their opponent, the Oakland Raiders, who plan to depart post-practice on Thursday from the Bay Area.
Carroll compared the situation to a bowl game like he experienced during his time coaching at Southern California. Except instead of spending a week in one place preparing, the Seahawks will have about 72 hours on the ground in England leading up to kickoff.
“We have enough days to turn it around,” Carroll said. “There’s a lot of different ways people have done it – go over at the first of the week or wait as long as they can – and we have chosen our options after a long study and we feel really good about what we’re doing. We should be OK. We’ll be fine.”
Seattle started asking its players to begin altering their sleep schedules following Sunday’s 33-31 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the hopes that when they board their flight at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Wednesday night, they’ll be ready to get a little bit of sleep on the plane.
The players will need it because once they land in London, the Seahawks intend on holding a practice shortly after arriving. It’s partly to make sure they’re staying with the normal routine of game preparation and partly to help keep the players awake in the hope they’ll get into a regular sleeping pattern on their first night abroad.
“I’m gonna try to sleep. Apparently right when we land, about an hour and a half later we have practice,” wide receiver Doug Baldwin said. “They’re trying to keep us up, trying to get our internal clocks ready for this game. So hopefully sleep.”
Sleep has been a valuable commodity in recent days for offensive lineman J.R. Sweezy, whose wife gave birth to the couple’s second child late last week. Sweezy said he was looking forward to the chance to play in London, but he didn’t like the idea of being away from home for five days.
“That’s going to be rough. It’s unfortunate but it’s got to be done,” he said.
NOTES: Carroll said LB K.J. Wright (knee) will not play in London, meaning the earliest he’ll make his season debut is Week 8 at Detroit. Wright had what the team called minor knee surgery following Seattle’s third preseason game but now will have missed more than one-third of the season. Carroll sounded optimistic Wright will be able to play when Seattle returns from its bye. … DE Rasheem Green (ankle) will also miss Sunday’s game. Green has been inactive the past two games.
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