Patriots Preparing for Lengthy London Flight

by

October 21, 2009

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — This seems like a lot of work to dispatch of the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The New England Patriots (4-2) began preparations Tuesday for their weekend trip to London to play the bloody Bucs (0-6) in the NFL?s annual International Series. The game planning moved up a day in anticipation for Thursday night?s flight to England, which is scheduled to last five hours and 45 minutes — an eternity as far as most NFL flights are concerned.

?Sleep is the biggest thing, especially with the time change,? said Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater, who also mentioned it?s important to stay hydrated on such a long flight. ?We have to try to get ourselves acclimated with the time difference. A lot of guys just kick back and watch movies, go over the game plan and things like that, get your mind right for the task at hand once you get over there because it?s a business trip.?

Rookie long snapper Jake Ingram isn?t even batting an eye over this flight. After growing up in Hawaii — where he also played his college ball — the Atlantic Ocean is barely a puddle to him. Hawaii?s shortest ?road? trip lasted at least the six hours it took to fly to Los Angeles, but they were typically longer than that.

?I?m not worried about it at all,? Ingram said. ?Some of the guys think it?s going to be a long, long flight. But six hours, you watch a movie, take a nap, wake up, you?re there pretty much.?

Ingram hangs out with kicker Stephen Gostkowski and punter Chris Hanson on team flights, and he said he?ll spend his time talking to those guys, or drawing or watching a movie.

?I?m not an artist,? Ingram said. ?I?m not even a good drawer. I just like to draw.?

As far as movies are concerned, the rookie said he?s a big fan of The Boondock Saints — a Boston cult classic — along with Shooter, X-Men and other action movies.

The Patriots? offensive linemen are known for their competitive card games, which will likely last through the entire trip across the pond, per usual of all of the team?s flights.

Slater prefers to read and watch movies when he?s not sleeping on team flights, and he said he?ll be bringing his Martin DVD?s for the London trip.

Other than that, pregame flights can be pretty tame because the team is trying to keep itself in the right frame of mind for Sunday. Depending on the outcome of their game, the flight home can be an extension of their locker room celebration, or it can be eerily quiet.

?I think going there is more of guys just trying to focus on the task at hand,? Slater said. ?We know it?s a business trip, so there?s not a lot of joking around and horseplay and stuff like that. Guys are focused in because we know if we don?t take care of business, it?s going to be a long flight back. I think we?ll just be focusing in on our task, calming our nerves and getting focused.?

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