Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur is guarded in revealing details of Packers' preparation plan for London
GREEN BAY – The measures NFL coaches accept attempting to secure competitive advantage knows no limits.
For Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur, that extends to anything and everything this week as his team prepares to play the New York Giants in London. Practice schedule. Sleep habits. How much water his players might drink.
LaFleur isn’t sharing any of that with the public.
“I just think it’s such an adjustment,” LaFleur said, “and I think a lot of it is who handles this trip the best is going to be able to play to the best of their ability.”
What LaFleur did divulge Monday is that his team will leave Green Bay for its unique overseas road trip after practice Thursday. The 7½-hour flight will arrive in London “pretty early” Friday morning.
The Packers will most importantly have to adapt their sleep schedule. London is six hours ahead of Central Time, meaning their 2:30 p.m. kickoff Sunday in London will be 8:30 a.m. back home.
How the Packers plan to do that is uncertain. The team has not yet released its practice schedule this week.
“I think everything you do,” LaFleur said, “from the moment the game ended last night until kickoff absolutely matters. Our guys are going to have to be super disciplined and make sure they’re taking care of themselves so we can put our best ball out there on Sunday.”
LaFleur has twice coached on teams that made the overseas hop to London. In 2017, he was the Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator in a 33-0 win against the Arizona Cardinals. A year later, he was the Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator in a 20-19 loss against the Los Angeles Chargers.
However the Packers prepare this week, LaFleur said he’ll lean on those experiences.
“I’ve been on both sides of it,” LaFleur said. “We’ve gone over there with the Rams and won. We went over with the Titans, and we lost a close game right at the end. So I think there’s things that you kind of reflect upon and thought that we maybe could have handled something a little bit better. But bottom line is you’ve got to be disciplined in whatever it is you’re going to do, just to try to show up and be the best version of you on game day.”
The Packers will be without one benefit the Rams and Titans both had, a bye week following their trip to London. They host the New York Jets at Lambeau Field seven days after playing the Giants.
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LaFleur said the Packers declined to have a bye after their game in London because of the length of an NFL season. If the Packers took their bye instead of playing the Jets, they would close their season with 11 straight games. With players given the first weekend of September off after cutdown day, LaFleur said, his team essentially entered this season with a mini-bye.
The preparation for this week isn’t for next week, though. LaFleur isn’t looking that far ahead. He believes how the Packers and Giants handle this unique trip will go a long way in determining who flies home happy.
“You’re going to be out of rhythm,” LaFleur said, “just in terms of your schedule, the practice schedule. You try to keep it as normal as possible, like a typical week, but let’s face it: it’s anything but.”