FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) New England rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo spent the week simulating Peyton Manning and his hurry-up offense.
Except for one part of it.
Garoppolo didn’t use Manning’s now-signature ”Omaha!” when calling put the plays at the line.
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”No `Omahas’ – I had my own set of words, I guess,” Garoppolo said Friday, as the Patriots continued their work toward Sunday’s showdown with Manning and the Denver Broncos.
Barring injury to Tom Brady or a blowout on either side, Garoppolo doesn’t figure to see any time on the field Sunday. But that doesn’t mean his scout team work this week can’t help New England win this latest Brady-Manning battle.
Even without the ”Omaha.”
”That was one thing that Jimmy didn’t do – he didn’t give the Omahas,” said linebacker Dont’a Hightower. ”But he did a really good job as far as all the mannerisms that Peyton does. He did a really good job at that.”
Asked what it takes to prepare for a guy like Manning, Garoppolo, who grew up admiring the battles between these two future Hall of Famer, said, ”There’s so much. I’m sure I didn’t do it to a T – but I did it the best I can. You watch film on a guy and try to pick up his tendencies and try to do the best you can out there, really.
”It’s been a good experience,” he added. ”Not many quarterbacks do what he does at the line of scrimmage. I tried to do my best this week to help my defense out and give them a good look. Hopefully it pays off on Sunday.”
Hightower, a key member of that defense, lauded the job done by Garoppolo.
”There’s no real way that you actually get that, obviously,” Hightower said. ”I feel like the scout team did a really good job this week as far getting off the ball quick and doing some of the things that they do . I definitely feel like, on both sides, whether it’s practice squad guys or guys on the regular roster or whatever, I definitely feel like everybody did a good job this week as far as playing their role.”
The scout team work can be overlooked but is a major key for the backup quarterback.
”You never know when injuries or whatever may come,” said Hightower. ”I definitely feel like Jimmy’s had a great week of practice, which he usually does, to give us a great look, no matter who we’re playing.”
WEATHER WOES: Patriots coach Bill Belichick took a serious shot at the weather folks when asked Friday about possible inclement weather for Sunday’s game.
Saying the forecasts this season have not been ”even very close,” Belichick turned to humor and said,"There was a 100 percent chance of rain last week and the only water I saw was on the Gatorade table. It is what it is. It could start one way and change during the game so we’ve got to be ready for whatever it is.
”My experience of going with the forecasts in this area two days before the game, I’d bet a lot they’re wrong, just based on history, because they’re almost always wrong. An hour before the game, maybe you might have something to work with there. If you start game-planning for what the weather is going to be, and you’re wrong, you’ve wasted a lot of time.”
In other words, you find out when you get there.
”When you walk out on the field, that’s really when you know what it is,” he said. ”The rest of it is just a bunch of hot air. We played down in Miami two years ago and there was a zero percent chance of rain, zero, and it rained. I’m just telling you. If I did my job way they did theirs, I’d be here about a week.”
Reminded he wasn’t making any friends in the weather community, Belichick said, ”Look, I’m not saying I could do it better than them, I’m just saying they’re wrong a lot. That’s a fact. They’re wrong a lot. We all make mistakes. I’m not being critical of them, I’m just saying I don’t think you can go based on that.”
MOVES: The Patriots re-signed linebacker Deontae Skinner, who played in all seven games – with one start – this season before being released Wednesday, to the practice squad and released practice squad wide receiver Jonathan Krause.