The NFL just got a little bit loonier...
From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle:
Make-believe Pats test the Bills
Practice squad members Hamdan, Huggins imitate Brady, Moss in drills.
(November 16, 2007) — ORCHARD PARK — Remember when you were a kid, and when you played football in the back yard you wore your Jerry Rice jersey, or Terry Bradshaw jersey, or Walter Payton jersey?
You emulated how the biggest stars in the NFL caught the football, how they threw it, how they ran with it. You played with your friends and fantasized that you were Jim Brown or Jim Kelly or Ahmad Rashad.
Well guess what? Big kids play the same make-believe game.
This week, Gibran Hamdan, the No. 3 quarterback on the Buffalo Bills depth chart, is pretending he's New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
It's Hamdan's job.
As the scout team quarterback, Hamdan is a Brady look-a-like on the practice field. Everything from wearing jersey No. 12 to the precise positioning of his feet when he takes the snap.
The cover-boy smile is optional. "I try to simulate as close as possible what the defense can expect to see," Hamdan said. "It may be as minute as how far back he stands in the shotgun to his reads and if he likes to go to someone more than someone else. Things like where they like to motion, who he likes to go to on certain concepts."
What Hamdan doesn't get to do: Emulate Brady off the field. Bummer, considering Brady's latest girlfriend is Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen.
"That's unfortunate," Hamdan said with a smile, "but you have to take the good with the bad. Like if we were playing Seattle and I had to be my good friend Matt Hasselbeck. Then I'd be going home to three young kids that were keeping me up all night."
Just like the real Brady, Hamdan must have receivers. So this week, practice squad wideout Felton Huggins is pretending he's Randy Moss.
He's doing a fine job, according to cornerback Jabari Greer, the guy who on Sunday night will quite often need to defend Moss and his springboard vertical leap.
"Felton has speed and the ability to jump and it's unbelievable the quality and consistency of looks these guys give us," Greer said.
At 6-feet-2 and 186 pounds, Huggins isn't exactly a Moss double (6-4, 210), but he has studied his moves for years.
"He was my favorite player coming up," Huggins said. "I get to know his game, his tendencies, so I can emulate it. We have to give them the same look they'll see Sunday night."
The scout team receivers such as Huggins and Scott Mayle take the job very seriously, too. The drills are their only chance to show they deserve to be on the active roster, not just the practice squad."
"They really want to make you look bad," Greer said. "No matter who it is, by the end of the week, I dislike them. There's an incentive for them to make us look bad. Every day in practice I dislike them, but only until practice ends."
Two weeks ago in practice, Huggins was pretending to be Cincinnati Bengals star Chad Johnson, minus the mouth. Come gametime, the Bills limited the real Johnson to three catches for 48 yards in their 33-21 victory on Nov. 4.
"Jabari told me after that game, 'You gave us a good look,'" Huggins said.
Despite the magnitude of the game and the apparent invincibility of the Patriots, Bills coach Dick Jauron said there is no added emphasis on the scout team's job this week.
"We put a lot of emphasis on it every week," Jauron said. "Our guys do a great job in terms of the look team. We try to do the best job we can every week, so it's just as important this week as every week."
The hope is that by Sunday, the defense will know the Patriots a whole lot better than they did on Monday.
"As the week goes on, the defense gains more and more confidence," Hamdan said. "Let's not be confused, there will be stuff their offense comes up with that's new. But we want to give the defense as good of a look as possible."