The Indianapolis Colts are 1-2, but they’ve been there before. In four of Chuck Pagano’s five seasons with the team, the Colts have started the season 1-2 through their first three games.
But while they’re used to rebounding from a slow start to the season, the Colts will be embarking on new territory this week: for the first time, they’ll be traveling to London to play a football game, as they’ll face the Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday at 9:30 a.m. ET at Wembley Stadium. That is resulting in a different schedule for the team this week than normal.
The players had Monday off this week, which is different from their normal Tuesday off days during the year. They will then practice on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday before then hopping on a plane to fly to London Thursday night. So in essence, the Colts have moved everything up a day from their normal schedule as they account for the trip to London, and they’re flying to London earlier than they normally would for a road game so that they can adapt to the time change and jet lag. Then when they get there on Friday morning, the Colts players will have meetings and a walkthrough that afternoon (Chuck Pagano said on Colts Roundtable Monday night that the big thing is keeping the players up that day) and then will have a walkthrough on Saturday as well before playing on Sunday.
“It’s a challenge,” head coach Chuck Pagano said after Sunday night’s game of having a road trip to London. “There has been a ton of work that has gone into this a year in advance. We started talking about this a long time ago, as soon as the schedule came out and we figured we were going, that is when we started planning it. It’s very helpful to have Joe Philbin and Darren Krein, those guys have been over there a couple times. We’ve got people that have experienced it and can give you the pluses and minuses and a lot of ideas on the practice week, the practice schedule, when to leave, what time to leave, boarding the plane, sleeping on the way over, staying up once you get over there to get your body clock adjusted to that time zone, all those types of things. It’s a challenge and an undertaking. Really our operations department, our organization has really stepped up and done a really great job. Jeff Brown has been an all-star. All of our departments have been over there a couple times and logistically found out hotels, buses, the trip to Wembley [Stadium], all that stuff. It’s an undertaking obviously and it’s going to be a short turnaround for us. It’s like playing a Thursday game for us even though we have a week and we are playing on a Sunday. A week goes fast, they will be off tomorrow, we will come in Tuesday and that will be like a Wednesday and then the next thing you know we will be on a plane. It’s going to be a heck of a challenge.”
It will certainly be a challenge and a key divisional game against the Jaguars, the first AFC South game the Colts will have played this year. Then following the London game, the Colts choose not to have their bye week so that they could have it later in the year, so Indy will return home to face the Chicago Bears the following Sunday. The good news is that, because they play at 9:30 a.m. ET, they should be able to get back to Indianapolis at a reasonable time and it shouldn’t be too much different than a west coast trip.
Without a doubt, though, it will be an interesting week for the Colts, and they’ve adjusted their schedule accordingly.