Titans sticking to same routine as 2018 in search of first win in London

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The only time the Tennessee Titans have been to Europe to play a game, it didn't end the way they wanted it to.

Tennessee fell 20-19 to the Los Angeles Chargers after a failed 2-point conversion with 31 seconds left. That's the only thing Titans coach Mike Vrabel said he would do differently from their previous trip to London in 2018.

The Titans (2-3) are going by the same schedule they used on the 2018 visit across the pond when they face the Baltimore Ravens (3-2) on Sunday (9:30 a.m. ET, NFL Network) at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

"The last time that we went over, we got a lot of work in [Nashville]," Vrabel said of their game-week preparation. "We have everything that we need here at the facility, so we'll work ahead. Make Tuesday a Wednesday, Wednesday a Thursday, Friday so on and so forth."

The Titans plan to practice Friday afternoon at The Grove Hotel in Watford, England. Tennessee decided to fly to London overnight Thursday evening after practice.

But their plan for Friday will be impacted by travel.

Vrabel said they'll "get some stuff covered on the plane" by working on their laptops over the eight-hour flight. Then they'll have meetings before practicing Friday.

The players will have some time off Saturday in hopes of making things as close to a normal game week as possible -- considering the six-hour time difference from Nashville.

The temptation to explore the city will be there for the players, which some will do, but at the end of the day, it's a business trip.

"I am not really focused on [sightseeing]," safety Dane Cruikshank said. "I'm focused on beating the Ravens."

The Ravens chose to leave Monday, the earliest any team that traveled to London this season has departed. Baltimore made that decision because players fell asleep in meetings and on the bus to the game six years ago when the Jacksonville Jaguars beat them 44-7.

When asked if that happened to the Titans last time, Vrabel said there weren't any issues. His advice to the players is to stay hydrated and limit their caffeine intake before their long flight to get better rest on the way there.

Safety Kevin Byard is one of five players -- along with Cruickshank, running back Derrick Henry, linebacker Harold Landry and center Corey Levin -- who were on the team when it last went to London. Byard prepared by going to bed as early as 7 p.m. during the week before heading to London.

It was Byard's way of trying to get a head start on adjusting his body to the time change. His suggestion to those who haven't played in Europe before is to get as much sleep on the plane as possible because of how difficult it can be to adjust.

"When we land, you try to stay up a whole other day," Byard said. "You gotta find a way to fight to stay up when you get there. You have to catch up with your body clock and get readjusted."

Though quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who joined the team in 2019, didn't go with the Titans to London, he made the trip three times when he was with the Miami Dolphins.

"Take advantage of the rest on the plane when you get there," Tannehill said. "Hit the ground running, take advantage of your Friday and then try to get a good night. Don't try to look back and see what time it is back in the states. Look at the clock, whatever time it is, that's what it is and tell yourself that and just go with it."

Defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons is taking the sleeping on the plane strategy even further by making sure he doesn't sit next to "any of the big guys" because he figures they'll snore. At 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, linebacker Arden Key wouldn't be considered a big guy by NFL standards, but that's another player that Simmons plans to avoid on the flight.

"I don't want to be beside Arden for sure," Simmons joked. "I can just look at him and tell he snores."

One thing the Titans aren't taking lightly is the playing surface in London. The stadium is home to the soccer club Tottenham Hotspur, which plays on natural grass. But that surface is rolled out and artificial turf is brought in for the NFL games played there.

Last week, some of the Buffalo Bills players said the turf felt like they were playing on cement during their 25-20 loss to the Jaguars. Multiple Bills players were hurt -- including linebacker Matt Milano, who could be lost for the season after suffering multiple leg injuries.

The Titans plan to take multiple cleats with them to test out the surface during pregame Sunday, and Vrabel said they've spoken to both teams and their equipment staffs about the surface and will be prepared for whatever the surface is.

"At the end of the day, that's what they pay us to do," Byard said. "Make the hard look easy. There's no excuses."