Blog Entry

Merril Hoge still unimpressed with Tim Tebow

Posted on: August 17, 2011 5:15 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 5:16 pm

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Two weeks ago, ESPN analyst Merril Hoge took to Twitter to elucidate all the reasons that Tim Tebow was in no shape, form or fashion an NFL quarterback. Hoge's string of tweets ranged from belligerent to unhinged, and while his delivery lacked diplomacy and nuance, the message was pretty much spot on: Tebow isn't better than Broncos incumbent Kyle Orton -- at least not right now -- and Orton gives Denver the best chance to win in 2011.

Hoge followed his Twitter tirade with appearances on ESPN to defend his position, and Tebow was left to answer the same questions that have plagued him since the moment he left the University of Florida: is he an NFL QB? Should he play TE or H-back or even LB? 

After a stellar college career that included Heisman Trophies and national titles, Tebow has had a rough few weeks. This summer it seemed like the organization was set to trade Orton and install Tebow as the starter, but those plans were scrapped early in training camp.

Even after Tebow's preseason performance against the Cowboys (he was 6 of 7 for 91 yards and a TD), head coach John Fox called him "a work in progress."

Hoge has had a week to evaluate Tebow's efforts in Dallas, and much like his insistence that Vince Young would never be a legit NFL quarterback, Hoge is sticking to his guns on Tebow, too.

“You’ve got to look at a couple flaws that Tim Tebow had at Florida and still has in the National Football League that I don’t believe ever get better,” Hoge said, according to PFT. “First of all, his delivery is such an elongated motion that you have to have a complete, clear pocket for him to be successful down the field. If you don’t have that, you’re going to struggle.”

But what about the 43-yard Tebow-to-Matt Willis connection? It was as good a throw as you're going to see in the NFL, right, Merril?

Not so much, it turns out.

“Yes, he completes it, but that’s a perfect setting,” Hoge said. “In the National Football League, almost 50 percent of all throws are under duress. So you’re not going to have that every time.”

Hoge also reiterates that Tebow's long throwing motion is so ingrained at this point that it will be impossible to alter.

“That will never change — that will always be there,” Hoge said. “If they start Tim Tebow, players are not stupid. That coaching staff will have no respect from the players.”

Can Tebow make it as an NFL QB?

So, yes, Tebow remains a lightning rod for criticism, most notably from Hoge (which is saying something).'s Clark Judge was at Broncos training camp this week and saw Tebow on the field working on his mechanics an hour after practice had ended. His instructor: John Elway.

"We kind of did everything in that period," Tebow told Judge. "Every type of drop. But more than anything, it was working on footwork and having the same footwork on every single drop. If you have the footwork, you have the same base. And when you have the same base every time, you can have the same throw every time."

While Tebow has heard Hoge's assessment of his abilities, he's not taking them to heart.

"I believe I can play at this level," he said. "I just have to go out there and show it and get consistently better. Every single day I try to get better and work as hard as I can on improving, and not worry about everything else, like what people are saying or what's happening."

Which, admittedly, must be hard to do. If Tebow is looking for a good laugh -- and evidence that Hoge doesn't always know what he's talking about -- he'll enjoy this clip from the 2008 NFL Draft. Hoge tells us that Brian Brohm, the Packers' second-round pick that year, would be better than Aaron Rodgers.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 16, 2012 11:46 am

Merril Hoge still unimpressed with Tim Tebow

Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: November 28, 2011 7:53 pm
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Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 23, 2011 4:20 pm
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Since: Sep 30, 2007
Posted on: October 12, 2011 9:35 am

Merril Hoge still unimpressed with Tim Tebow

Hoge might be right about Tebow, but its not like he's going out on a limb no one thinks Tebow will be any good. Completely disagree with saying Tebow doesn't give the Bronco's the best chance to win though. Their offense right now is a mess. No real running game, no receivers getting open. In order for that team to score points they need a QB who can improvise. Orton can't. Tebow can. Start Tebow. Tebow isn't ready yet, and according to Hoge his flaws are with him forever, at least his biggest one, throwing motion, so why not start him this year and see what he's got. Don't tell me the players will hate it. Tebow's athletic ability gives the Bronco's there best chance to win. Merrill Hoge was on Mike and Mike before the season saying Roethlisberger was better than Rodgers because he can't be taken down by blitzers. Hopefully he was watching Sunday Night when Rodgers not only consistently avoided the rush and even managed to complete passes with Atlanta's DB's wrapped all over him.

Since: Aug 10, 2008
Posted on: October 11, 2011 8:15 pm

Merril Hoge still unimpressed with Tim Tebow

Hodge will probably get fired.  ESPN doesn't allow anything about Tebow that's not 100% positive. 

Since: Aug 28, 2011
Posted on: August 28, 2011 3:17 pm

Merril Hoge still unimpressed with Tim Tebow

Like a lot of people, I like watching football games, reading about the news in the NFL, and talking about it with friends, family and coworkers. I'm a working class stiff and have opinions about things, as do my working class stiff friends and family. It's a great diversion from the monotony of life.

I like Tim Tebow. I think he could have a long and impressive NFL career ahead of him. Is he the best quarterback ever? Who knows. But I think it's pretty clear that he he's off to a good start. So far, every time he's been on the field in official or preseason games, he's helped the ball advance and done positive things. Some people disagree with me, some agree. It's an interesting thing to talk about. But another story has come out of the Tebow drama that really has nothing to do with Tebow. And that is the venomous commentary from some of the prevailing "analysts."

It's important to know that when we listen to these folks that we aren't hearing the voices of objective analysts all the time. That's probably OK, but we need to keep it in mind. I loved listening to John Madden, and now the group of Shannon Sharpe, Bill Cower, Boomer Esiason and Dan Marino provides the best substitute available. The ESPN analysts write to the nth degree about every detail a person could want. And now that the lock out is over and the season is warming up we're all very glad to catch up on what's going on in the league, who's good, who's bad. But there is something different here this year. There are at least a couple "analysts" whose dialogue is clearly out of bounds. It's so ugly, so negative, and so unlike the detached, objective commentary that even Terry Bradshaw is able to script to.

Merril Hoge: "Tebow has developed so many bad habits as a passer that it’s too late for him to change. And he said that any player on the Broncos can plainly see that Tebow has no business being their starter.

Esiason on Tebow: "He can't play, he can't throw."

Can you say that? Can an ESPN and CBS Sports analyst openly trash an active player? Apparently. And since the gloves are off, exactly who are these guys using their positions as "analysts" to apparently grind their own personal axes? Merril Hoge was a Steelers running back from 87 to 93. Much like Tebow, he was largely seen as an overachiever and played above his level through hard work and determination. No Superbowls in his career, the closest one was in 1989 when Hoge had a stellar 1st have in the playoff games versus the Broncos. Denver's defence stimied Hoge in the 2nd half, though, and the Steelers lost after Elway captained a 4th quarter march to a score that sealed the game. The best of Hoge's career stamped down decidedly by clearly superior athleticism and coaching. That had to hurt. Curious that this young Bronco named Tewbow, at least as physically impressive as Hoge, is now in the crosshairs of Hoge's "analysis."

Esiasan deserves even less respect. He played most of his 13 years with the Bengals, with whom he narrowly lost a Superbowl in 1988 to the San Francisco 49ers, QB'd by 4-time Superbowl winner Joe Montana. Like Hoge, Esiason's greatest moment of glory was quashed by supeior forces in the Niners and Montana, and Boomer went home crying. To sooth his hurt feelings, the NFL declared him the 1988 Superbowl MVP and invited him to play in Pro Bowl. But he declined in favor of sulking over his Superbowl loss.

And these are the two guys hating in this young Bronco's QB. Are they right? Maybe, I don't think so. But their delivery completely lacks tact and professionalism. As a working class stiff, I don't demand that sports writers and analysts be Pulitzer prize winning diplomats. But the hate should be filitered. If I want to gripe and commiserte about the upcoming generation I can hang with any collection of grumpy old men I know or listen to conservative political talk radio. When I listen to sports I want to hear about sports and logical analysis, not a bunch of has-beens never-wases grinding a personal axe.

Since: Aug 20, 2011
Posted on: August 23, 2011 2:50 pm

Merril Hoge still unimpressed with Tim Tebow

"I completly agree with Hoge. I just got home from watching the Broncos at Training Camp and Hoge and other reporters are RIGHT ON in that Tebow is so inconsistant and his passes are totally off. It clearly shows that Tebow does not know plays, his throwing is horrindous, his throwing hasn't improved one bit and he simply cannot complete many passes at all. If Tebow ever gets a shot with 1st stringers he will undoubtly get killed cause he will be rushed, he can't make a decision when he's rushed and can't pick the offense apart quick enough in the pocket to get the ball off in time to the recivers. Orton is concise and his throwing is night and day from Tebow. Orton's passing is like instantly snap and throw and correctly every time to the open recievers. Every time Tebow would take a snap from the secondary and thrid stringers even that defense was to fast for Tebow and just getting killed on the field. This was PRATICE!!! If Tebow can't improve in pratice there IS NO EFFIN WAY TEBOW CAN BE A 1ST STRING QB and most likely not even a 2nd stringer. Tebow has a EXTREMELY LOOOOONG WAY TO GO TO COMPETE TO BE ANY 1ST STRING QB. I'm betting the Broncos will put Tebow with the 3rd stringers and that's where he belongs. Tebow IS AWFUL!!!!"

Where do these brain deads come from? (is that really you Merril, or is it your girlfriend)

The Broncos began training camp trying to trade Orton but when no teams would even make an offer!
So Denver opened the competition and Orton quickly showed (in practice) he was the best of the bunch. He's gotten almost all the work with the starters (yet again). Orton's starting status hasn't really been in doubt since the first day of training camp, when he showed the gulf between him and the others was still enormous.

However, there was a much different 'gulf' shown after the first preseason game in Dallas. Evidently there actually IS a difference between no pressure practice and actual on the field game time performance. Ortons 'Great Command of the Offense' and his his 8 years of experience, plus him getting ALL of the 1st team practice, has added up to:

Stats through the first 2 preseason games:

Orton 110.0 Passer Rating - using the 1st team players in games and EVERY advantage at practice. (55 passer rating after game 1)

Quinn 95.1 Passer Rating (109 rating after game one)

Tebow 113.4 Passer Rating - using the 3rd teamers and scrubs. (118 passer rating after game one)

To bad that rookie Tim is such an 'inaccurate' passer, huh......

* And Tebow led all rookie QB's in 2010 QB Passer Rating (including #1 Pick S.Bradford).

He also led All NFL Rookies (any position) in yards per carry running the ball - minimum 40 carries- for the season.

Since: Aug 6, 2011
Posted on: August 18, 2011 4:12 pm

Merril Hoge still unimpressed with Tim Tebow

I feel bad for you, Merril, but brain damage is apparently irreversible.

Since: Dec 9, 2006
Posted on: August 18, 2011 2:53 pm

Merril Hoge still unimpressed with Tim Tebow

Hoge is coming across as a bitter, vindictive and tired old man.  He is entitled to his opinion, but this attack on Tebow is classless.  He made his point the first time, but to keep nailing the kid at every opportunity is ridiculous.  What did Tebow do, not sign an autograph for Hoge?  I also find it interesting that ESPN  has not printed a word about this latest rant.  It's time for Hoge to shut his mouth, he's at best a below average analyst and at worst a vidictive jerk.

Since: Aug 2, 2011
Posted on: August 18, 2011 11:08 am

Merril Hoge still unimpressed with Tim Tebow

Hoge needs to shut up. He is a talking head that is useless.  Look at Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, Steve Young. etc. They were all given a chance to play. The first several years they struggled and did not have instant success. Hmm  Oh yes, lets add John Elway to the list. Yet here is a player that when he had an opportunity to play 3 games had a better rating than his competitor. The team was competitive and they improved as a team. Hoge along with CBS seems to want to destroy Tebow because he has faith in a God that is bigger than himself. Who knows, maybe there is a God that is bigger than Merril Hoge or Romanowski, maybe Tim Tebow is onto something besides being the greatest College player of all time that drives him. Hmm  maybe the god, ( Merril Hoge) is threatened by someone recognizing a God that is bigger than him.  Not sure what he has against Tebow but it sure shows through. The venom that he spews forth does not really have to do with football but is driven by some other purpose. Football is just what he is riding.  Whether Tim makes it or not. let's let it play out before you try to destroy a person. I have not any articles where Tim addressed Hoge with the same venom and criticism.  Let him play!    Oh that's right    even when he played the other night. Tebow had a better qb rating than either of the other quarterbacks and a better passing percentage.  But then Hoge said it doesn't count?  Hoge stop smoking crap

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