Merril Hoge savages Johnny Manziel, calls Browns rookie QB ‘a juvenile punk’
ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge, no stranger to making inflammatory comments about players, took to the radio waves on Wednesday to lay a verbal beatdown upon Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel, who himself is no stranger to being on the receiving end of harsh criticism.
Hoge, appearing on the “Randy Baumann and the DVE Morning Show” on Pittsburgh’s 102.5 WDVE, didn’t hold back on his savagery of Johnny Football, referring to the controversial but talented signal-caller as a “juvenile punk” who “has no business being on the field.”
Hoge went on to argue that Manziel has no chance of translating his success in college football to the NFL.
“There is nothing that he does that transitions to the NFL,” Hoge said.
“He doesn’t understand concepts,” Hoge contended. “He doesn’t understand the structure of an offense or anything you do defensively.”
Hoge later predicted that Manziel’s NFL career will parallel the quick rise and fall of Tim Tebow, saying, “This will be the saddest, quickest ending we have seen in quite some time.”
Throughout has analyst career, Hoge has had on reservations about going all in when slamming a player who is otherwise adored. He did the same when hammering on Tim Tebow when Tebowmania was in its inception. And he deserves credit for nailing that one.
Hoge also has previously ripped Manziel, saying back in March, “I see bust written all over him,” among other less-than-complimentary things.
While Manziel certainly cannot be characterized as a bust just yet, there are plenty of people out there who will view Hoge’s latest diatribe directed at the brash rookie as a spot-on assessment of the quarterback.
However, when one looks to a talking head in the employ of a major media outlet for analysis, one should have the reasonable expectation that said analyst will provide sound insight, not something that borders on the kind of commentary typically seen on fan message boards. Hoge’s critique at times during his comments Wednesday were indeed insightful, but to characterize Manziel, who has experienced his fair share of criticism, some fair, some not, as a “juvenile punk” smacks of unprofessionalism, a personal bias and a plainly evident agenda against the player.
Even if Hoge is correct in his that Manziel will not make the grade in the NFL — something that obviously is not a sure bet at this early stage — he’s wrong to go about articulating it in such a vitriolic manner. It takes away from the message and instead has all the appearances of shameless sensationalism and selfish self-promotion.
Hoge’s interview in its entirety follows: