No NFL team has played in London more than the Jaguars. In six previous visits to the United Kingdom, the Jaguars have won half of their games. Does that mean they have a better idea of how to travel to Wembley Stadium?
After losing their first two games in London, the Jaguars have won three of their last four, the lone loss in the past four years coming in last year’s visit after a number of Jaguars players were involved with a legal situation at a London Nightclub, leaving four players detained on Friday night during their visit in 2018.
“For the fact that there are players that have done it before, I think that helps,” Marrone said. “I think that the other thing that helps is when the schedule comes out it’s not like, ‘[sigh]’, you know? We understand that we’re going to go there and play. So, we’re excited about that.”
While much of the Jaguars’ roster has experienced the trip to London, only seven of this year’s starters have started in a game in England.
Last year, DJ Chark was a reserve, but he did learn something about making the trip.
“For me personally, it’s about not getting outside of my routine,” Chark said. “Still getting to bed on time. Waking up on time. Eating, focusing, studying my plays. Just trying to keep things as normal as possible.”
The longest-tenured Jaguar, defensive tackle Abry Jones, has been on the roster for every London game in franchise history. He tells young players that the best thing they can do is to fight jet lag.
“Get on the plane, fell to sleep, you sleep. When you’re up, you’re up,” Jones said. “That’s the best way to get over the jet lag.”
Jones does not believe the Jaguars’ experience gives them an edge over other teams, however.
“Unless you are going over there drinking and partying,” Jones said. “Get a good nap in, and a good night of sleep and you’re ready to go.”
If the Jaguars are going to have an edge against the Texans, it may be that they learned from last years’ cavalier approach to the London nightlife.
The Texans will not be at full strength. All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt was placed on the injured reserve list this week.
“You’re talking about a guy that’s a Hall of Fame player, that’s a great football player,” Marrone said. “And they have other players on that defense that are also great players, and I just think they step up and play well. They’re really good football players. I think they’ll rally, they’ll step up. We’ll get the best of what they have to offer, so that’s how I look at it. It’s unfortunate because you always like competing against great players, and J.J. Watt’s a Defensive Player of the Year and Hall of Fame player, and I have a ton of respect for him and the rest of the guys on that defense.”
The Jaguars faced the Texans in Week 2 in Houston, losing 13-12 when the Jaguars could not convert a two-point conversion with 30 seconds left in the game.