Posted by Ryan Wilson
UPDATED (11:20 p.m. ET): Tebow has issued his reponse to Hoge's criticisms. Wrote Tebow on his Twitter account: "Hey Merril ...... 'ppreciate that."
After an offseason that included new Broncos head coach John Fox announcing that the starting quarterback gig was a three-man race, and constant rumors that Kyle Orton would be traded as soon as the lockout was over, it should be something of a surprise that just a few days into training camp, Orton appears to be running away with the job.
Then again, this is the NFL, where obfuscation is as much apart of strategizing as watching film and formulating game plans. Maybe the Broncos coaching staff had designs on starting Tebow this season, and perhaps that could still happen. But based on a handful of practices, and a Wednesday morning Twitter diatribe by ESPN analyst and former NFL running back Merril Hoge, who spends much of his time watching game tape, Tebow isn't quite ready for the responsibility. Not yet, anyway.
This isn't the first time Hoge has been outspoken about a young quarterback. During a 2008 radio interview, he spoke frankly about then-Titans QB Vince Young.
"He's a baby," Hoge told Pittsburgh's WDVE at the time. "He's a soft baby. He's been a baby since they .... I stumbled across people who recruited him in college. They really tried to get him to go to Oklahoma. One of reasons they stopped their recruiting process was because he was such a baby . . . He was the most immature crybaby they ever met. He was soft; he wasn't tough."
A year later, he softened his stance, lauding Young for his improved play.
And while Hoge doesn't have the vitriol for Tebow that he previously expressed for Young, the two players have similar playing styles. As PFT's Michael David Smith points out, "When Tebow was a star at Florida, he was a great fit for the Gators’ spread offense, but he wasn’t asked to do the things an NFL quarterback does, and his throwing motion looked awkward. Hoge says that Tebow’s throwing motion hasn’t improved and his accuracy is a mess."
We've seen this movie before. And it explains a Wednesday report from ESPN's Adam Schefter that not only will the Broncos keep Orton this year, they plan to start him, too.
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