Sportress of Blogitude


Merril Hoge on Johnny Manziel: ‘I see bust written all over him’


ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge, never one to shy away from making controversial remarks, savaged Johnny Manziel on Wednesday, arguing that Johnny Football’s skill set “does not transition” to the NFL game. With that in mind, Hoge believes taking Manziel high in the draft is “a big, big risk.”

In fact, Hoge believes Manziel not only is a big risk, he has all the makings of a huge NFL failure.

“I see bust written all over him,” Hoge said, according to NFL Nation. “Especially if he’s drafted in the first round.”

Ouch. If a draft day slide would turn the chip on Manziel’s shoulder that he said would turn from “a Frito into a Dorito,” as the quarterback put it, what will Hoge’s savagery cause a chip to turn into? A hot ‘n spicy fried pork skin or something?

Hoge arrived at his blunt assessment of Manziel’s prospects for success in the NFL after breaking down film.

“He has absolutely no instinct or feel for pocket awareness,” Hoge said. “He has an instinct to run. That’s a bad instinct if you’re going to have that in the National Football League. You have to play in the pocket with traffic around you and throw it. When traffic comes around him he runs, and that’s dangerous in the National Football League.”

Hoge joins his fellow ESPN colleague Ron Jaworski as two analysts who have questioned Manziel’s ability to translate his loosey-goosey, gunslinger style to the complexity of the NFL game. Jaworski argued that Manziel won’t last three games in the NFL if he plays the quarterback position the way he did in college.

Both Hoge and Jaws are perfectly entitled to their opinions and have been correct on several occasions in their NFL analysis in the past — lest we forget Hoge’s savage critique of Tim Tebow back in 2011, which proved to be spot-on. But one portion of the NFL Nation article — an page– on Hoge’s comments are so self-serving to the analysts that the network employs that it must be mentioned:

Hoge has been breaking down film and video for years for ESPN, including regularly with Ron Jaworski. Unlike some, neither make comments for effect. They do so honestly.

Hoo boy. While there is no reason to besmirch the knowledge, experience or integrity of Jaworski or Hoge — their roles on “NFL Matchup” with Sal Paolantonio are impeccably performed — let’s not go crazy here. This is ESPN after all. Everything that network does is essentially for affect. If that wasn’t the case, why would Stephen A. Smith or Skip Bayless still be employees?

In analysis of NFL Nation’s analysis of the quality of the analysis provided by Jaws and Hoge, allow me to defer to what The Wolf had to say in “Pulp Fiction” about the quality of the car cleanup in Jimmie Dimick’s garage (video contains profanity)…

That about sums it up.