Julio Jones sounds exasperated when asked about adjusting to the time change that traveling to London presents. The UK is five hours ahead of what the Falcons are used to in Atlanta, so when the team arrived Monday around 9 a.m. local time, their bodies were feeling all of 4 a.m. eastern time.
With a CBA-mandated day off Tuesday, the Falcons have had more than 72 hours now to get adjusted to the time change, some have handled it better than others.
"I'm still hurting. Oh, my God, I'm still hurting," Jones said during his Wednesday press conference. "It's part of the game and part of my career right now. I've just got to get my body acclimated to the time difference, but I feel pretty good."
Head coach Mike Smith said that the Falcons have instituted some tips and tricks to help players acclimate quicker, including recommending times they should wake up and making sure the players open the shades in their rooms as soon as they wake to get as much sunlight as possible.
Smith has been overseas before so he said he's adjusted well to the change. Quarterback Matt Ryan came into the press conference his usual energetic self with a smile to greet the London media and said he feels great and that he's fully adjusted to the change.
On Monday after the Falcons landed, they were bused two hours from the airport to an elementary school to participate in a Play 60 event. During a break in action, Roddy White remarked that sleep would be key to getting on the right schedule and it's a theme that has carried through Wednesday.
Facing such an unusual rookie season on the travel front, rookie Jake Matthews admitted that a few more hours of shut-eye could do him some good.
"I feel pretty good — I could probably catch up on some more sleep," he said following Wednesday's walkthrough. "The time difference is big but I'm still getting adjusted."
Rumblings have persisted in recent years about the possibility of the NFL locating a team in London permanently. The question was raised during Wednesday's press conferences, and while the players admitted they hadn't given the possibility much thought, Smith sees London as a potential future landscape for NFL expansion.
"I think that there's some logistical things worked out in scheduling and I know that the league office has looked at it in many different ways and I know it's something that is often talked about," Smith said. "I don't know exactly how they would do it logistically, but I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility. London and the UK are becoming very good football fans in understanding it and I think it's something the NFL is definitely looking at."