Jamison Crowder is an East Coast guy.
He grew up in North Carolina, played in college at Duke, spent four seasons with Washington and is now in his second season with the Jets, after signing as a free agent in 2019.
So, confronted with the prospect of a second consecutive sojourn to the West Coast for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Rams, Crowder, 27, has been there, done that with a water bottle in hand.
"It's tough, I think I've learned all about hydration," Crowder told the Inside the Jets podcast, with Bart Scott and Dan Graca, referring to cross-country airplane trips. "You got to get your body ready. The next few days are pivotal to me. Those flights, people don't realize how much they can drain you. You get dehydrated, there's interrupted sleep.
"Earlier this season we played the Chargers, and just going out there my body felt different at game time. More fatigued. Now, we got to go back this week. It's a challenge, you've got to make sure you're hydrated. With COVID, there are so many things we can't control. I've got to get my body ready for the week and ready to go on Sunday."
Speaking about recovering from the trip home from Seattle, on Monday Crowder said: "I'm definitely tired. We got back at 2, 2:30 (AM). After a game I usually can't go to sleep. I probably didn't get to bed until 3:30-4."
After last Sunday's game at Seattle, the Jets returned to New Jersey to prepare for their next game, at the Rams. Head Coach Adam Gase and Jets officials considered staying out on the West Coast, but decided that the two coast-to-coast trips were preferable to an extended stay in a hotel, away from family and with possible exposure to the coronavirus.
The virus has changed the landscape across the NFL and Crowder said that players have had to adapt to a routine that doesn't resemble the routine most professional players have become accustomed to in their careers.
"It has been challenging," he said. "Across the league, Monday and Tuesday you normally can go in [to the training center]. Typically, on Monday I'd come in and run. Now you really can't go in the building unless you're dealing with an injury.
"Everything has been online. It's been challenging to receive information going over the play book when it's all virtual. At the end of day we find a way to pivot, maneuver and make things happen. We've made it this far and have to finish out the next few weeks."
Ahead of the Seattle game, Crowder (who has missed four games this season with injuries) was listed as questionable with a calf injury sustained in training last week. He made the trip, got to Lumen Field early and then pronounced himself fit to play. "I was good to go once the kickoff came around," he said. Crowder's rally was welcome news for QB Sam Darnold and the Jets, especially since rookie second-round draft pick Denzel Mims was unavailable.
"We just came out flat," he said about the 40-3 loss. "We had some opportunities. We go down there on the first drive and get a field goal. We drove down the field well enough to get in scoring range. We have to put the ball in the end zone. We missed three field goals. Things like that definitely hurt, to get down there and come away with nothing. If we get a field goal that's OK, but we want a TD. But when we don't get anything, it's kind of deflating.
"You can't go three or four possessions without scoring and think you can stay in the game."
In his nearly two seasons with the Jets and Darnold, Crowder has emerged as the third-year quarterback's go-to receiver, operating mostly from the slot. And throughout the season, it has seemed that the Jets' offense has been hampered by missing cogs from game to game. Darnold has missed time. Crowder has missed time. Breshad Perriman has missed time. Mims has missed time.
"It's kind of simple for me ... I always try to be a valuable weapon for Sam," Crowder said. "If I'm making plays his confidence is going to go up."
The Jets will be returning to the new SoFi Stadium (where they lost to the Chargers earlier this season) to face the Rams (9-4) and their top-ranked defense. It won't be easy, as the Patriots found out in last week's 24-3 shellacking by the Rams.
"It's definitely a state-of-the-art facility," Crowder said. "It's dope. I look forward to going back out there. It's another West Coast trip. It's football, a business. We have to go out there, make plays and get a dub [as in a W]."