New England Patriots: St. Louis Rams

Fun in London? Only if Pats win

October, 23, 2012
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- As noted by head coach Bill Belichick on Tuesday morning, not too many players remain from the Patriots' last trip to London in 2009.

One of those 14 players is kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who downplayed the return visit to the United Kingdom that the Patriots will make later this week.

"It's a long trip but it's not too much farther like when we went to Seattle," he said. "I doubt we'll have too much time to really enjoy (it), or go sight-seeing."

The Patriots left London with a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers three years ago, and Gostkowski says this year's trip will be a success not if he gets to see Big Ben again -- he's done that before -- but rather if they earn a victory over the St. Louis Rams.

"It will be a good experience if we play well and come home with a win," he said. "Then we'll have a really good time."

The perspective of the seventh-year veteran is contrasted with that of second-year running back Stevan Ridley, who is looking forward to visiting the foreign country.

"Going away, I don't want to say it's a vacation, because we're going out to handle business and take care of football, but any time you don't get to go -- I haven't been to London before -- I'm looking forward to making the trip," Ridley said.

However, it's clear that the message of staying focused and avoiding distractions while abroad will be sent to players this week, if it has not been already.

"We're going to try to get there a little earlier in the week, get there, get set up, and get back to football," Ridley said. "We're going to try to keep everything as close to normal as we can, have a steady work week, and prepare for the Rams."

Veteran safety Steve Gregory played in London as a member of the San Diego Chargers in 2008. After having missed the last three games with a hip injury, he said he will have to "talk with the trainers and everybody" before learning if he will be making a second trip.

"It was great. Obviously I'd never been there before, so to see London, the overall experience was amazing," Gregory said of his 2008 trip. "Playing in that stadium. Some of the people had all different jerseys on and stuff. I think they were cheering more when the guys kicked a field goal than a regular play, but it was fun, it was a good time.

"Just to be in a different country, see their culture, what it's like over there, it's different than being in America. You get to interact with the people over there, [it] was definitely something you could take with you."

Pats adjust preparation schedule

October, 23, 2012
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- With the Patriots scheduled to leave for London on Thursday evening in advance of their Week 8 matchup with the St. Louis Rams in historic Wembley Stadium, the team has had to re-adjust its normal preparation week to account for the time needed to travel, adjust to the time change, and rest up for the game.

Traditional weeks center around practice days from Wednesday to Friday, but because of the circumstances, Belichick has opted to have his team on the field for a walk-through on Tuesday afternoon.

In essence, the schedule has been moved up a day, according to Belichick.

"I think that Friday is kind of our transition day, and hopefully today, Wednesday and Thursday will be like a regular Wednesday, Thursday, Friday type preparation days," he said.

The team will arrive in London on Friday morning, and rather than using that day to put in a normal workload, Belichick will begin the process of getting his team rested and adjusted to the time difference.

"We're going to try to add a little bit of extra time to rest and get adjusted and all that, rather than spend it on a lot of game planning and that kind of thing," he noted.

"I don't want to say it's a lost day, but certainly it's a big transition day for us," Belichick continued. "And then Saturday, hopefully we can get back into our regular routine on Saturday and treat Saturday kind of like a normal Saturday, if you will."

Belichick said that the experience of having played in London three years ago can be beneficial for his team.

"The experience for those of us that went, I think we have some idea of what to expect," he said. "Definitely there's something to be said for that."

Wembley Stadium is home to the English national soccer team, and the natural grass playing surface has been a topic of discussion after previous NFL games held within the stadium.

Belichick isn't concerned.

"Every field is different," he said. "You get used to it, it's a grass field. Not the fastest field, but we've played on plenty comparable to it."

Belichick did mention one difference between Wembley and a NFL stadium, however: the environment of the game.

"It's a little bit of a different environment playing there," he said. "They kind of do the soccer cheers and the rugby cheers and all that. It's a little less football-oriented, a little more whatever you call that."