The last time the Jets headed to London, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall were forming a connection, and Todd Bowles was navigating his first full season as a head coach.
Six years later, a brand-new cast is about to introduce itself to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The Jets were set to take the seven-hour trip to London on Thursday night and land early Friday, the plan being to get rest on the flight and have a couple days overseas to get adjusted before they “host” the Falcons on Sunday.
Teams have tinkered with the timing of the international flight, but the current school of thought involves leaving Thursday night, which Atlanta is following as well.
Jets coach Robert Saleh, who was linebackers coach with the Jaguars from 2014-16, remembered the Jaguars flying out to England his first season, immediately after the previous Sunday’s game, which made for a “miserable week.”
“The next year we did it on Thursday, and that — for me, at least talking to players — was the best they felt on a Sunday,” he said this week. “We won and did it again the next year and won.
“The performance department has a really cool plan.”
He did not fancy divulging much about the specifics of that plan, but wide receiver Keelan Cole, who also was a part of Jaguars teams that play overseas often, said he didn’t want to change too much. He hoped to spend the flight sleeping, wake up in London, which has a five-hour time difference, maybe do some exploring and get to practice.
There is plenty of curiosity in terms of learning how to best prepare the team. Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, who has never experienced the trip, has been leaning on tight ends coach Ron Middleton, who also was with Jacksonville and will be participating in his seventh game overseas. LaFleur chatted with Packers offensive coordinator Nate Hackett, another former Jaguars coach, to get some advice.
“To me, we’re just going to play in a different stadium,” LaFleur said Thursday. “I get there’s a time change, but we’re going to play football, and we got a job to do.”
After the clash, the Jets can catch their breath and will be entering their bye (holiday?) week.
A couple significant Falcons were not expected to board the plane.
Calvin Ridley, one of the top receivers in the league and a favorite target of Matt Ryan, was not slated to make the trip because of a personal matter, the Falcons announced. Russell Gage, another top option for Ryan, also will miss the game with an ankle injury.
For a second straight week, the Jets’ young secondary will see a depleted receiver corps. Last Sunday the unit contained the Titans, who did not have Julio Jones and A.J. Brown because of injuries.
Safety Adrian Colbert (concussion), tight end Tyler Kroft (back), safety Marcus Maye (ankle) and wide receiver Jeff Smith (concussion) did not practice. Cornerback Brandin Echols (concussion) and defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd (knee) were limited.
The Jets released practice squad offensive lineman Jimmy Murray.