Bill Belichick (Patriots)
The New England Patriots have the lead in the AFC East, but just barely. They can't afford a trip to the UK get them off track. Bill Belichick's team is trying to prepare for Sunday's matchup just like every other week, despite playing in a foreign country that some have never been to.
Patriots preparing for trip to London to play Rams
FOXBOROUGH, MASS. (AP)
Before he plays at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, Patriots running back
Shane Vereen wants to make a stop at Buckingham Palace.
''I just want to see the soldiers outside of the Palace that can't
smile,'' a smiling Vereen said Tuesday. ''I just want to take a
And then he'll play for the usually dour coach Bill Belichick in New
England's second trip in four years to London where they'll face the
St. Louis Rams.
''The time change, the travel - that's certainly different than most
normal games,'' Belichick said, ''but it's not anything we haven't
dealt with before. We've traveled to the West Coast. We're just going
the other direction. Hopefully, we'll be able to deal with it.''
The Patriots went to London in 2009, beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,
35-7, but most players on that New England team won't be with this one
when it travels across the Atlantic Ocean on a red-eye Thursday night.
For Vereen, in his second NFL season, it will be his first trip to
''I'm excited to go, see what it's all about and be able to play
somewhere else, but at the same time we do have to go get a `W,'''
Vereen said, adding, ''I think it's fun'' more than the inconvenience
of making a long trip in the middle of the season.
''I think it will be a good thing for us. I think it will be a good
thing for St. Louis as well,'' he said. ''Middle of the season, you
kind of start getting into the lull, the every-day routine. So to break
the routine a little bit and get to go out of the country, I think will
be something fun.''
Injured safety Steve Gregory, who missed the last two games with a hip
injury, visited London with the San Diego Chargers in 2008 and is
looking forward to another trip.
''It was a great experience,'' he said. ''Obviously, I had never been
there before so to see London, the overall experience, was just
As far as his off-field plans, Gregory joked that he would see Queen
Elizabeth, ''if she'll let me.''
Running back Stevan Ridley, asked about visiting the queen, said, ''Hey
man, if she calls, yeah.''
Placekicker Stephen Gostkowski, who made the 2009 trip, said, ''It was
a lot of fun and we got a win and hopefully it will be the same
experience. It's a long trip but it's not too much farther than like
when we went to Seattle (Oct. 14). So, it will be a good experience if
we play well and can come home with a win.''
As far as what he might like to do this time, Gostkowski said, ''I
doubt we'll really have time to really enjoy . go sightseeing, maybe
take a tour bus, I don't know. They haven't told us the schedule yet.
It will be fun if we win and we'll have a good time.''
The Wembley Stadium field hasn't gotten great reviews.
''Every field is different, you get used to it,'' Belichick said.
''It's a grass field. It's not the fastest field but we've played on
plenty comparable to that. It's a little different environment out
there. They do the soccer cheers and the rugby cheers and all that.
''It's a little less football-oriented.''
NOTES: Gostkowski, who kicked the tying and winning field goals last
Sunday in a 29-26 overtime win over the New York Jets, said, ''I got a
chance to help the team and I came through. It was fun. It was a good
feeling to come out with a win, a division win against a team that we
like to beat.''... The Patriots have gained more than 350 yards in each
of their last 16 games, tying an NFL record set by the Rams
(1999-2000), this week's opponent. ''I'm a lot more concerned about
wins than yards. I don't really care about the stats,'' Belichick said.
''I just care about scoring more points than the other team.''