Hoge says whoever drafted Johnny Manziel should be fired

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That homeless guy in Cleveland shouldn’t get comfortable . . . in the home he doesn’t have.

ESPN’s Merril Hoge has called for whoever drafted quarterback Johnny Manziel to be fired.  After the Browns traded up from No. 26 to No. 22 to get Manziel, owner Jimmy Haslam told ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio that Haslam became convinced Cleveland fans wanted the man known as Johnny Football when a homeless man told Haslam, “Draft Manziel.”

“[W]hoever drafted him in Cleveland, they need to be fired,” Hoge said on ESPN, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  “Because it’s unfair to the kid.  He has sixth-round talent but first-round hype, and you draft him there and now regardless of what happens from here on out, he will be expected to play like a first-rounder and that’s unfair to him.

“He doesn’t have the skill set to withstand that expectation and that’s not his fault, it’s the Cleveland Browns’ for drafting him that high.”

Hoge doesn’t see things ending well for Manziel and the Browns.

“This will be the saddest, quickest ending we have seen in quite some time,” Hoge said in September, via Cabot. “It’ll be like a Tim Tebow.”  (Which really wasn’t “quite some time” ago.)

As crazy as it sounds, Sunday’s performance was bad enough to put all options on the table.  Appearing on Monday’s PFT Live, Cabot said the next two games take on extra importance because the Browns once again have two first-round draft picks.  Which means that the Browns could decide based on the next two games to go in a different direction.

Would it be fair to assess Manziel based on three games?  Maybe, but his inability to beat out Brian Hoyer in the first 13 games becomes part of the overall puzzle.  By the time the season ends, the Browns may know everything they need to know.  And if they know Manziel won’t become at the NFL level the guy he was in college, sticking with him will eventually give the homeless guy who said “draft Manziel” some company.

214 responses to “Hoge says whoever drafted Johnny Manziel should be fired

  1. Whoever hired Hoge should be fired

    I don’t like Johnny and I don’t care if he’s a bust but it was just ONE GAME

    so impulsive and reacationary

    Iron Sharpens Iron

  2. Typical ESPN overreaction. I haven’t watched them today but I’m sure they’re on their 90th show talking about Manziel and the standard talking points. Lord knows we need to get every single one of their opinions about him, Hoyer, the upcoming draft, his reaction to a teammate walking near him, how this affects his time at the Cavs games, etc.

    Now, on to my talking points, lol. I don’t know if Manziel will make it or not but I can’t stand ESPN, which is why I’m here.

  3. I’m not a Manziel fan and definitely not a Hoge fan, but give the kid a chance. 1 start is not enough to call him a bust. Hoge should be fired cause he can’t seem to keep his mouth shut.

  4. How can we get Merril Hoge, Tim Tebow, Johnny Loser and Skip Bayless on the same set? Merril would crush them, Skip would be on his knees for them. It’d be hilarious.

  5. Personally, I thought Johnny Football was over rated in college. However, many rookie QB’s have had brutal games, and it has worked out. (Troy Aikman – who was lucky he survived his rookie season, Eli Manning, etc.).

    Now I don’t think that Johnny Football is going to win 2-3 Super Bowls like the earlier QB’s…. But it is too early to doom him to failure off of one game.

  6. Boo hoo poor manziel. Him being drafted in the first round and making millions more than he should is unfair to him? Give me a break these reporters get dumber and dumber every day

  7. Homeless guy! Ha ha ha. What idiot makes a decision based upon that? Or admits it? He is making excuses for his poor choice!!!

  8. Oh BS. The kid has started one game. One. Is Hoge that desperate for attention? Guess so, and Johnny Football is the lowest hanging fruit out there. Shut up Hoge, you never was.

  9. Look at it this way Cleveland. You got Manziel with the pick you got from Indianopolis when you traded Trent Richardson. So basically you will have traded a bust for a bust. IF Manziel doesn’t work out. I am not ready to call him a bust after only 1 game starting.

  10. Its his first start.

    I remember Eli’s first five starts he looked lost against the Eagles and Ravens.

    I’m sure all parties involved will live with Sunday if there are a couple Super Bowl wins in a few years.

  11. Manziel was certainly overhyped…but his mobility can’t be questioned….seems like mike evans was the reason manziel was so good…

  12. Let’s be honest, the Jaguars and starting QB Tim Tebow could have dumped 50 on the Browns yesterday.

  13. Merill Hoge is also the guy who always beat up on Randy Moss.

    I wonder which of them is going to eventually end up in the hall of fame?

  14. Hoge should shut up. One game is hardly enough to judge any rookie on, let alone a rookie who is also the quarterback.

  15. Oh for Pete’s sake Merril, get over yourself.

    Look, I’m no fan of Manziel, and I’m glad my team drafted Bridgewater instead of Johnny Football….BUT, judging a decision to draft a player based on his performance in his first NFL start is freaking ridiculous.

    Manziel has talent for the game, and he showed that in college. Will that translate into him having a solid pro career? I have no idea.

    But any prognosticator who comes out after one game and proclaims his prognosis to have been correct, and that drafting Manziel is a mistake is only trying to blow his own horn and draw attention to himself (much like Manziel, you might say). Hoge was ridiculous when it came to demonizing Tim Tebow, and now he seems hell-bent on doing the same to Manziel.

    Hoge’s rant reminds me of how much I miss professional draft analysts like Joel Buschbaum.

  16. Merrill Hoge and his quadruple Windsor knot…I can’t stand him. Dude, you were a fullback and not even a great one.

  17. Oh come now. It’s his first start. Like any QB, he’ll need time to adapt. Cleveland has basically shown themselves as the team they really are. It kills me that teams across the NFL seem to think that only one guy can make such a difference to turn an average/below average team into a winner.

    I know the hype machine didn’t help his cause, but, and I’m probably out on my own on this, but I’ll give him time to get a camp as a starter and wait to pass judgment.

  18. “boltfan29 says: Dec 15, 2014 2:03 PM Hoge played RB for the Steelers and Bears in the late 80’s and early 90’s…”

    Well Boltfan I reckon that makes Hoge a has been as opposed to a never was. I still don’t like him or his opinions, though.

  19. The ESPN over-hype machine has made the rest of the NFL fans ‘hate’ Johnny. That’s what will drive him out of the league. Once ESPN steamrolls over him, it’s over for the kid.

  20. If I’m a Browns fan the only thing that makes me feel better is knowing just how many times Merril Hodge has shot his mouth off with some loud angry statement that he turns out to be completely wrong about.

  21. In addition: This is why teams shouldn’t reach for a quarterback. If there isn’t a prospect you are confident in then wait and take one of the projects in a later round. Garrapolo for example was always one of the best bets in last years draft and look where he went.

    You can’t force finding a quarterback. You just end up hurting the rest of your team and delaying your chance to compete in the playoffs.

  22. True, Johnny did poop his pants yesterday. But virtually every NFL QB’s 1st season is a nightmare. John Elway almost quit after his first year. Bradshaw, P. Manning, Aikman were miserable. Not saying Manziel will succeed in the NFL, but the reaction from one game is crazy.

  23. Actually, he should be suspended because his actions with his pilot flying J fiasco should put him under review for the conduct policy.

    He already sucks at owning a team. You might as will get them away from it.

  24. andreboy1 says:
    Dec 15, 2014 1:57 PM
    Whoever hired Hoge should be fired

    I don’t like Johnny and I don’t care if he’s a bust but it was just ONE GAME

    so impulsive and reacationary

    Iron Sharpens Iron

    Hodge actually made that statement before the Browns played. Not reactionary just his belief I guess based on what he sees.

  25. The hyperbole queen speaks again. One start hardly proves anything. How about taking a quiet satisfaction knowing you are right so far instead of calling for someone’s job, Merril?

  26. I despise Manziel, but I have to agree that he deserves more than one game. As a Redskins fan however, I have learned that NFL scouts shouldn’t put so much stock in athletic QB’s who run the spread in college. That game doesn’t doesn’t translate into the NFL and QB’s (like Manziel and RGIII) are projects as they have to learn the pocket, how to go through progressions, and that WR’s that were covered in college are actually wide open in the NFL. Playing college qb is like learning to drive a car whereas learning to play qb at the nfl level is like trying to fly a fighter plane.

  27. skawh says:
    Dec 15, 2014 1:58 PM
    And this self appointed expert Hoge played where?


    Was one of the best fullbacks I saw play for Pittsburgh during the Cowher years. I’m a 49ers fan and know that.


    Hoge knows his stuff.

  28. I remember a couple of years ago when ESPN made every article, blog, and literally entire pre-game shows completely ‘Tebow Time’. Glad to see they’ve found a replacement – it’s easier than actual reporting.

  29. chinahand11 says:
    Dec 15, 2014 2:13 PM
    “boltfan29 says: Dec 15, 2014 2:03 PM Hoge played RB for the Steelers and Bears in the late 80’s and early 90’s…”

    Well Boltfan I reckon that makes Hoge a has been as opposed to a never was. I still don’t like him or his opinions, though.


    This essentially means: “I know what I know so don’t bother me with the facts”.

  30. now the nfc east hates cleve…for preventing dall from drafting train wreck manziel. the manziel-less cowboys may actually become a good team, and dall owes cleve for its lucky twist of fate. in other words, cleve took the rope away from jerry jones….thanks a lot cleve.

  31. Thats real big of him to say that after 1 game and not the day of the draft. grow a pair Hoser.

    Just about every quarterback is a crap shoot in the draft. only a few are real prospects like Luck. hell even RG3 is tanking.

  32. Like Culpepper throwing it up to Moss…Johnny threw it up to Mike Evans.

    He was not rated as a 1st rounder by a lot of personnel people. It would have been better to slide to rd 2 and take him and the pressure off.

  33. I just love the parts in all of these articles that question the “puzzling” reason why Manziel couldn’t beat out Hoyer for the first 13 games… HOYER has won 10 games in the NFL! Isn’t that the point?? Yet Hoyer is just a garbage player…. Manziel will never win a game if his play even remotely resembles what we witnessed on Sunday.

    Gonna miss you Hoyer!

  34. I’m not a Manziel fan either, but I hope this disaster makes him realize that being a QB in the NFL is not quite as easy as it was in college, and that you have to be the first one in and the last one out, and that you are not anywhere near good enough to be a decent quarterback while living the social life you’ve been living.

    Not sure I got it exactly right, but it seemed the announcers doing the Bengals/Browns game on Sunday said they had asked him about it, and he told them that working hard all week at being a QB was an eye-opener, and they asked if he would be doing that from here on and his response was, “I dunno … we’ll see.” Again, I may have misinterpreted their comments, but I was thinking when I heard them, Man, it’d suck to be a Brown’s fan and hear that.

  35. Hoge’s examples of complete ineptitude far outweigh any fleeting flashes of brilliance he has shown. The man thinks “canally” is a real word.

    Manziel is a boom or bust player. That is his style. The problem with guys like him is consistency. He can make a great play or a horrible one on any given snap. NFL defenders are less likely to be taken advantage of by that style. Discipline beats his style every time. Guys like Romo, Wilson and Ben are controlled in the scramble chaos. Manziel isn’t yet. Like Vick, Manziel will dazzle occasionally but will be subpar long term.

  36. I myself don’t think drafting manziel in the 1st was a total loss, add up the ticket sales, the apparel sales and the TV revenues the clevand Browns are still sitting pretty, and if just maybe if Johnny football turns out to be halfway decent its a win win for everybody

  37. Why in the heck did they wait so long to start Manziel? He will be judged on his last 3 weeks? What a position to be in.

    Unless he really does something spectacular, it may be curtains.

  38. Hey, at least one person is willing to still quote something that Hoge says.

    Steelroid nation sticks together.

  39. Luck, Flacco, Ryan, etc never looked this bad when they played in their rookie year. Ever. Yes there are rookie mistakes – then there is what Johnny foosball did. He really played like he was still in high school where he was the fastest, biggest guy on the field. he just looked awful, unprepared, nervous and small…Not sure you recover from this…because it doesn’t look like he has the talent.

  40. I love me some Browns fans! Loveable Losers with Blinders on. Did you not see JF’s floaters to the flat? His inability to get the corner on D Linemen? What works in the college game won’t pass in the NFL.

    I wonder who Haslam’s gardener has at the top of his draft board?

  41. I remember Steve McNair didn’t even see the field until his third season. They are really getting ridiculous with rushing these guys so much now. One start!?

  42. I don’t know why some of yall mentioning QBs like Eli or aikman as starting bad. Of course there are example of this but many more of the opposite. I think the point here is that those QBs were drafted where they should have been and therefore they overcame their early troubles. Manziel how ever is expected to carry a organization that has been bad for a long time when he himself may not have the talent and probably should not have been drafted that high. Therefore putting high expectatione on him and killing his career and everyone involved in the decision. Not his fault but there is some merit to that point. It’s like overpaying a player and then expecting him perform at the level of people who make the same money when the only thing they have in common is salary.

  43. Obviously we have a lot of youngsters on this board. Peyton Manning did not set the NFL on fire we he came into the league decades ago. He was horrible at times and that’s puttig it nicely. I think many recently have been spoiled by the recent early success of the Russell Wilsons and Andrew Lucks. It doesn’t always work out that way. I would NOT judge the kid after even 1 season under his belt as starter.

  44. Peyton Manning threw 3 picks his first start and so did Andrew Luck…Bortles threw 2 in his…Derek Carr had 0, just saying….so did Teddy…I’m off track…

    The difference between them and Johnny? They weren’t thrown into the middle of a playoff race against a division foe that’s also in said race.

    Look, it wasn’t good in any way. That does not make him a final product nor does it mean he can’t have at least serviceable success for the Browns for a few years…it also doesn’t mean he can’t be great.

    Good thing Joe Montana wasn’t judged by his first start….5-12, 36 yards, 41.6 comp % and a 49.3 rating.

  45. what a surprise!an ex steeler who never has a positive word for any team in afc north except for steelers. why he has a job, blows my mind. according to him polamolu is still an all pro s and the steelers have the best o line in football and they will win the super bowl every year.
    you can get more intelligent thoughts and more facts reading the national inquirer

  46. “It’ll be like a Tim Tebow.”

    That was almost too harsh.

    In all seriousness, it used to be that teams would give rookie QBs at least 2 years before pulling the plug.

    However, Manziel can’t even get 2 games, or even 2 quarters, before people want Cleveland to pull the plug.

  47. Oh yeah…….Merrill Hoge played at IDAHO STATE UNIVERSITY…give me a break!

    Hoge and everyone at ESPN has been hating on Johnny Manziel since they first heard his name 3 yrs. ago.

    I guarantee Hoge……Manziel will prove you’re dead WRONG about him!!!

  48. greglloydrules says:Dec 15, 2014 2:00 PM

    “Hoge should be fired cause he can’t seem to keep his mouth shut.”

    As a professional talking head, it’s his JOB to open his mouth, and state his opinions strongly and with conviction. And as for those who say that Hoge shouldn’t make such statements based on one game, he’s been saying this since Manziel was drafted, and maybe before, so it’s obviously based on more than yesterday’s results.

  49. hi my name is merrill hodge and I am famous for getting concussions when I played in the NFL. that makes me an expert on all things including who can play the game. I have worked for 0 NFL teams or scouting services but because I work at espn I am an expert because I say so.

  50. Hoge is on with what he is saying. This is not an assessment after one game. It has been an ongoing assessment for the entire season and preseason by the team. They decide when the time might be right. Picking this game then him laying an egg is NOT the one game look everyone is seeing. Hoge is just stating some obvious stuff after a 17 game team assessment that was shown in one game of public viewing. Apparently the team agrees with Hoge or we would have seen Manziel sooner. He will be starting the next two games vs Carolina and Baltimore. Let it play out and see if Manziel goes the way of Leaf or Manning.

  51. Um, time out, everyone, I think I got it. First, I apologize Xnihilo and Bolt guy, no offense intended.

    It’s just … look at us. We were all wrong. His nickname should have been Johnny Lightning Rod coz every time he’s in a story we go ape poopy wild on the message boards. Or Johnny Stir-the-Pot. Or Johnny the Son of Custer (ultimate boom or bust guy).

    Methinks that no matter how it goes, and Merrill Hoge notwithstanding, this kid is gonna be a lot of fun.

  52. No surprise Hoge managed to bring up Tim Tebow in his little rant. He was just as obsessed with badmouthing him too. Nothing gets me to change the channel faster than when Merrill Hoge is on the screen. Even if his analysis is right, he just comes off as a smug blowhard and a bully. You’re supposed to be a professional, guy. At least try acting like it.

  53. Hoge is a goober. He has said insightful things in the past, but this is ridiculous. Where a player is drafted doesn’t always equate a certain talent level. Brady was drafted in the 6th, but do we expect him to play at that level? Russell Wilson was drafted in the 3rd, but do we expect him to play at that level? No. We expect players to play to a higher level in every case. If you listen to the players themselves, they always talk about taking their game to a higher level. If you are a starter for your team then everyone expects you to play like a 1st rounder. If you can’t, then it’s “next man up”.

    Johnny also may have just dealt with his offensive line sending him a message: “You need to work harder for us, or else we’re going to lay down on you during games.” And I’ve read the stories about the o-line veterans saying they stand behind Hoyer, so it’s not out of the question. I don’t think it’s likely given the potential playoff implications, but it’s always a possibility.

    Johnny football played a lousy game. So, there is nowhere for him to go but up from here.

  54. Odd. I said the that Merrill Hoge should be fired after his I saw first show, and no one reported that. I’ve heard sports bar regulars with more informed opinions that Hoge.

  55. Browns sucked in all phases yesterday, and Cincy didn’t.

    Johnny sucked, but had zero help from the 0-line, WR’s or RB’s.

    It’s one game…R-E-L-A-X.

  56. NFL Network was hyping him like crazy during their pregame show yesterday. A couple of their talking heads even picked Cleveland to win BECAUSE he was starting.

    I understand that yesterday was a complete disaster, but he wasn’t that bad in preseason play. Give him the next 2 games and reevaluate.

    I don’t think he can ever be anything more than an average QB, but it’s a bit unfair to sit him for 4 months and then expect him to be in mid-season form against a division opponent clinging to a playoff spot.

    I enjoy lauging at his/Cleveland’s misery as much as anyone, but it’s easy to see that he isn’t being set up to succeed.

  57. I have never been a huge Manziel fan but it was only one game . It seems like every week every skill position player is either great or a goat . I don’t know if its due to media sensationalism or fantasy football or both but it feels that way more and more .

  58. I agree with him but the most unfortunate part is to just single out one player when the same could be said about Christian Ponder and Teddy BustH2O.

    The difference is that the GM who picked the other two plus a turnstile of a LT Kalil at #4 is still not fired and prepared to do further damage this spring.

  59. The whole…one game meme is completely idiotic.

    This is who detractors thought Manziel to be.

    So no, it’s not just one game… it’s the culmination of everything we knew him to be.

    Look at his preseason stats… do they tell you something different?

    Look at his college tape… does it scream NFL starting QB to you?

    Nope it doesn’t.

    Everyone has been playing the…wait until he starts.

    Now he has, and even though it was only one game, it showcased what Manziel is, and what people thought of him.

    That’s Manziel. Can he occasionally run around and buy time to hit a throw now and then? Yes.

    But that doesn’t make an NFL QB. You need all the other stuff, and when you do, if you have that, it makes you better. That skill alone won’t make you an NFL QB.

    This is what people have been trying to say. That Johnny Football stuff doesn’t make him an NFL starter. It just makes him able to hit a few throws a season some other QB’s won’t make.

    But the rest of the time… you are stuck with a small time talent akin to most backups at best.

    Some people saw ONE thing, and think that can transcend and carry him on every snap. Others, rightly knew it could not possibly be like that, and focused on the rest, and the rest screamed backup at best.

    So yeah, it’s been one game, and everything people who haven’t been blinded by whatever, CONTINUED to see exactly what we’ve been talking about in regards to his talent.

  60. Don’t forget, Rick Speilman from the Vikings wanted to move up from the 2nd round to take Johnny back up. Viking fans, don’t ever forget who our GM is. We were just plain lucky this time around.

    Fire Speilman

  61. “He doesn’t have the skill set to withstand that expectation”

    What’s hilarious is that this assessment is being made by the guy who is dead last in espn “expert picks” so far this season, yet he continues to make them.

  62. Im not a JFF fan. Don’t care for him or being force fed JFF stories CONSTANTLY. But…. seriously? Fire somebody after one game? This is why Hoge is a stooge, I mean “analyst” for the WORLDWIDE LEADER and not in a front office somewhere.

    I too question whether JFF will EVER have success at this level. He looks like he should be doing my taxes, not taking hits from Ngata. But to write him off after one game is just sensationalism at his finest.

    Kudos to Hoge on getting other outlets to get his name out there again though. ESPN teaches these talking heads well on that skill.

  63. Sorry Clevelanders, but the Factory of Sadness is ramping up production after a brief hiatus. It’s like that scene in The Perfect Storm when the sun come out for a moment giving a glimmer of hope–then that same hope is dashed when sun goes away.

  64. The fact that Manziel couldn’t beat out Brian Hoyer all year is telling. The Browns were trying to keep him under wraps for as long as they could. And for good reason. The fact that he had all year to study and learn and than to stink up the joint so badly in his first outing does not bode well at all. If he doesn’t show anything in the next 2 games, I could see the Browns cutting ties and starting over at QB again.

  65. It appears Marvin Lewis was right. The game, was in fact, “Too Big” for little Johnny. Know this Cleveland fans, coaches, and front office personnel….midgets will never make it in the NFL! The Ravens tried it with lil Stevie Smith and look what they got. Th dude only gets up for NFC South games! You had a QB that was delivering a winning season. Maybe not a SB or Conf. title, but a winning season nonetheless. Something that Cleveland hasn’t seen in quite some time. And the only thing that you can think to do, is bench the guy when your still in the race! MORON’S..always have been, always will be! If anyone in that city had a football mind, they’d take it out and let Lil Johnny play with it at halftime. It’s ridiculous! I’m nowhere near being a Brown’s fan but I’m totally embarrassed. What a bunch of tools!

  66. Hoge is simply jealous that everyone knows Manziel, and yet after 6-7 years in the NFL nobody knows Hoge once played running back for several teams. Hoge is hunting for personal headlines. He’s ESPN’s worst commentator.

  67. What a ridiculous conclusion.

    Hoyer was just fine for 11 games. Very few people were calling for his head when they were 7-4, just some talk about too many turnovers. Then he goes completely in the toilet for 2 games, then Manziel has ONE terrible game, and now it’s time to throw Manziel into the dumpster.

    Have we forgotten Merrill Hoge is a guy whose career ended prematurely due to concussions, back when sitting out for a concussion was a sign of lost manhood? You have to take everything he says with a grain of salt.

  68. I’ve listened to this Bozo Hoge spout on for long enough…

    To say Manziel can’t play because he’s a running QB is about as stupid as saying a white guy can’t be a running back in the NFL.

    What’s that? Hoge was a white guy who just happened to play running back…yeah, shut up Hoge.

  69. whatjusthapped and innocent32710:

    Did you forget to read the article? You probably ought to comment on the article rather than just taking the opportunity for some Viking bashing. Especially when you have no idea what you are talking about.

    If you want to spew your vomit onto the unsuspecting readers, at least do it in response to an article that remotely has some mention of what you want to spew about. At least then the intelligent readers will recognize your post IDs and be able to skip on to something that may be worth reading.

  70. Wow Hodge still has a job? I thought he was canned a few yrs ago….how bout we give this kid with 6th round talent a chance before you start firing the guy who drafted him….Tom Brady was drafted in the six round so someone thought he only had six round talent? Turned out pretty good for the PATS

  71. cincyalldaway, are you kidding? Hoyer did well for the first several games, but for the last 4, he’s thrown 1 TD and 8 INTs. He only hit 60% completions in one game (lost) in that time. His QBR slipped to 29 in his last game against the colts. I don’t know what happened, but he wasn’t going to complete the season winning. The Browns had to do something, as the playoffs were slipping away rapidly. Right now, they have to win the final two games and get lots of help.

    I’d rather ask why Manziel was tackled in the backfield before he could take 5 steps 3 times, or why the only person that could stop a bengals running back was a fan in the stands. Manziel was not anywhere near good in that game, but neither was anyone else. There were several drops by WRs, and the RBs couldn’t run. The blocking on the OL was horrible, and the DL got pushed backwards the entire game. All the Browns sucked for that game. It almost reminded me of a ’99 game.

  72. Next year, in addition to using the opinions of homeless people to make draft picks, Browns should try using tarot cards and Ouiji boards.

  73. Merrill Hoge is an idiot. Every once and a while he escapes from where they are hiding him and sticks his head out to make some absurd comment. How does this guy keep a job.

    I don’t like the guy, but it’s 1 FREAKING GAME. Look at the rest of Cleveland’s stats yesterday. Defense please? Running game please? Did anyone show up???

  74. While I agree with Hoge I also think you have to have a larger sampling than just one game. Johnny Fratboy came from a college system that never huddled, never took a snap from center, and had very limited plays. Now he is in a system that is much more complicated than before and he is facing competition at a level he never saw in college. I don’t like the kid and his attitude but it is way too early to judge him.

  75. Hoge said that Brian Brohm would be better than Aaron Rodgers. Hoge also said Joe Flacco was the best quarterback in the NFL. It’s a nice thing when you don’t have to be accountable for the moronic things you say and do. While Hoge predicted that Manziel would be a bust, it kind of seems like he just throws stuff out there until something sticks.

  76. Hoge played most of his career for the Steelers and was the kind of guy you wanted on your team–not because he was the best, but because he played his heart out. As a commentator, he annoys me as much he does everyone else, but he’s right about Manziel. Johnny Football was sixth-round talent taken far too soon. Nowhere is the gulf between the college game and the pro game wider than at the quarterback position.

    But the most curious thing about this story is how Haslam wound talking with a homeless guy. Was the guy washing his windshield at a red light?

  77. I think that Hoge will be right in the end, but it’s way to early for that call right now. This all depends on Manziels character and surrounding influences.

    I think Manziel is immature and unwilling to put forth the massive amount of effort and preparation needed to be a quality starter. I don’t think he’s got any of the intangibles of a good leader and will crash and burn quickly, and for his sake it might be best if he went down with an injury to save face.

    That said, if this embarrassing loss works as a wake up call and he spends the next couple weeks and the entire off season working on his craft, first in, last out. Stops spending time with cretins like Bieber and instead builds better relationships with his teammates and people with quality character, then maybe he’ll be able to convert his very raw talent into something passable as a play making game manager.

  78. whoever hired Merrill Hoge needs a lobotomy! wtf would you hire a guy with a woman’s name as an anchor on a sports network? but seriously,the guy is a flat out moron because more people have heard of tim tebow and johnny football than have ever heard about him and his hatred for people with more talent in their little finger than he has in his whole body.

  79. Manziel is likely the opposite of the Red Rifle with the Bengals. Manziel sucks in the regular season, but does much better in the playoffs. We will likely never find out if he is the opposite of Red Rifle and do well in the playoffs, cause Manziel will never make the playoffs – even if he played in the NFC South.

  80. I don’t know who is worse, Hoge, Glazer or Jaws. At least Hoge has been consistent with his opinions of Manziel

    Interesting stat: Manziel left the pocket on 41% of his pass attempts. If he doesn’t fix that these results will not change. I honestly never thought I would see a worse game than Brandon Weeden’s first game. I was wrong.

  81. “bobtxbrowns says:
    Dec 15, 2014 2:39 PM
    Oh yeah…….Merrill Hoge played at IDAHO STATE UNIVERSITY…give me a break!

    Hoge and everyone at ESPN has been hating on Johnny Manziel since they first heard his name 3 yrs. ago.

    I guarantee Hoge……Manziel will prove you’re dead WRONG about him!!!”

    I’m no Merrill Hoge fan, but what in the world where he played college ball matter? Hoge played many years in the National Football League and has been in locker rooms and knows more about football than you do. So what if commentators like Jaworski, Hoge, Dilfer, etc were “just average”. That doesn’t mean they don’t know football, especially the pro game. Their physical abilities have NOTHING to do with knowledge and ability to talk about the game. Terry Bradshaw is a HOFer. Does he offer any meaningful insight other than to whoop and holler?

    @bobtxbrowns, what are YOUR qualifications that you can “guarantee” that Manziel will prove him wrong?

  82. Guess all those undiagnosed concussions have effected Hoge’s brain permanently. Not saying JFF will be good, or even last in the league, but to say this crap after one game? Gimme a break. C’mon, Merril. You played with Bubby Freakin Brister, and you’re gonna criticize Manziel?

  83. Boy ESPN loves to sensationalize…

    It is too early to tell. Let the guy get some starts under his belt.

  84. This is what happens when you draft a qb who is not very good and expect him to be the savior of a team that is average. This isn’t like the Seattle or San Fran situation where the team would mask all of the qb’s issues with playing the position. Everyone outside of Seattle and San Fran knows Wilson and kaep are not very good but the team (and the media) makes up for that. The browns need to go back to the qb drawing board.

  85. A few weeks ago in Buffalo JFF looked like a star. Give the kid a break, he is 22 years old and 3 years out of high school.

  86. If I’m the Browns’ management… and if I decide to move on from Manziel… then I’m going to spend upward to $100,000 for someone to evaluate all available QBs in the draft, just so I can be sure that I draft the player that has most chance of either being successful, or at least a serviceable starter in the NFL.

    There’s no way that plan can go wrong!

  87. “littlestinger says:
    Dec 15, 2014 4:02 PM

    A few weeks ago in Buffalo JFF looked like a star.”

    Um no, he was on his back in the end zone looking UP at the stars, while the Bills recovered his fumble.

  88. I think Merrill Hoge has had one to many concussions. Its only one game albeit it was a stinker. Johnny Football may turn out to be like Cleveland’s name sake, “The Mistake By The Lake” Time will tell the tale. But one game….Really???

  89. There has been no shortage of criticism for “smaller” QB’s throughout history. Joe Montana was “too short” and did not have a “strong enough arm” to be in the NFL. In his first start, he went 5-12 for 36 yards. One game does not denote a “body of work.” Let’s see what Manziel can do against Carolina and Baltimore…all we need to see is some improvement to avoid “blowing up the QB position” for yet another year. As for Hoge (and any other talking head in any other medium) a broken clock is right twice a day, no?

  90. kd75 says:
    Dec 15, 2014 2:04 PM

    Its his first start.

    I remember Eli’s first five starts he looked lost against the Eagles and Ravens.

    I’m sure all parties involved will live with Sunday if there are a couple Super Bowl wins in a few years.

    what’s changed with Eli?

  91. I don’t know whether Manziel will be a complete bust or he needs 3 years to learn how to adjust to playing QB at NFL speed.

    What I really don’t understand is how you can start him when the Browns have the record they do under Hoyer and had a legitimate shot at the playoffs. It’s not like they were last years (or this years) Jets with a QB controversy and had no shot at the playoffs, so what will it hurt to give Manziel some experience. They were in playoff contention, and doing well enough to make it with Hoyer. Starting Manziel at this point in the season was like giving up. Coaches and Owners SHOULD be smart enough to know better than to throw a guy into the fire that obviously has some maturity and growing issues and expect anything more than what they got in that game against the Bengals, a divisional opponent.

  92. Cleveland needs depth on the O-line more than it needs a QB. Honestly, that the Browns could not withstand the loss of Alex Mack speaks to the importance of depth.

    The experts all said Cleveland needed to draft a WR with their 2nd round pick. Instead, Cleveland chose Joel Bitonio, which is looking like a great pick in retrospect.

    Maybe Cleveland should have gone all O-line in the 1st round and then just run the football all day long, like the Green Bay Packers’ power sweep era. Glorious.

  93. I don’t know whether Manziel will be a complete bust or he needs time to learn how to adjust to playing QB at NFL speed.

    What I really don’t understand is how you can start him when the Browns have the record they do under Hoyer and had a legitimate shot at the playoffs. It’s not like they were last years (or this years) Jets with a QB controversy and had no shot at the playoffs, so what will it hurt to give Manziel some experience. They were in playoff contention, and doing well enough to make it with Hoyer. Starting Manziel at this point in the season was like giving up. Coaches and Owners SHOULD be smart enough to know better than to throw a guy into the fire that obviously has some maturity and growing issues and expect anything more than what they got in that game against the Bengals, a divisional opponent.

  94. HOGE
    please fire ray farmer for wasting 2 picks
    gilbert “jury still out on him”
    and wasted pick getting manziel
    “who i didnt want” while at the draft live
    i wanted BORTLES

  95. Johnny Bench CONTINUES to be poured on, and for good reason.

    The guy slid in the draft for a reason (MANY teams passed on him, including Dallas who drafted a possible ROY O-lineman in Martin), THEN Cleveland in their desperation drafted him with their 2nd pick in Rd 1 (they should have taken Bridgewater), and now the reality of the money-rolling over-hyped bathroom-visiting Vegas partier rookie is coming to fruition.

    Way to speak your mind, Hoge. The guy is a train wreck, and will bust. He doesn’t have the mental capacity for the NFL. Johnny Bench should have STAYED Johnny Bench, and it is making Hoyer look that much better (which we all know isn’t saying much).

  96. skawh says:
    Dec 15, 2014 1:58 PM
    And this self appointed expert Hoge played where?



    God, I feel old.

  97. I used to think Merrill was a hater. Lived through the entire TT thing here in Denver. But when you listen to MH it truly is not personal. Both JM and TT were over-drafted. He said that JM was a great college player as was TT, it just that their skill sets do not translate to the NFL. Time to listen to Merrill. Will be looking forward to his (can’t believe I’m saying this) analysis prior to the 2015 draft.

  98. Ray Farmer has this amazing reputation, yet he was right there during the mess that was the chiefs of that hard knocks season and a little beyond. they had no depth, they were a terrible team and still are paying for it due to so many picks not even being in the NFL anymore let alone on the team.

    Gilbert and Manziel, may have missed on both.

  99. I think Manziel at best will be as good as Alex Smith. I think at worst he will be a career backup, Doug Flutie style. That isn’t 1st round worthy, but I fail to feel badly for him because he was paid like, well, a 1st round pick.

  100. Finally, a voice of reason. Any Cleveland fan who thinks the hype will become reality is delusional.

  101. I have a “theory” about this loss to the BENGALS.

    It’s just my opinion that the majority of the BROWNS’s players decided they were going to take a DIVE on this game……..and teach Johnny Manziel some kind of a lesson. Like, welcome to the NFL.

    HOW else do you explain this. Sure, Johnny made some Rookie mistakes…every Rookie does, no matter what position.

    QB Troy Aikman (the #1 overall draft in the NFL and taken by the Cowboys)…..started all 16 games of his ROOKIE year…and the Cowboys ended that season 1-15. They didn’t bench Aikman…the Cowboys built a great team around him. Within a couple years, Aikman led the Cowboys to (3) SUPER BOWL wins!!!

    Maybe Manziel would have played BETTER if the friggn’ O-Line had blocked or the RBs made a few yards OR some of the receivers caught a few balls (or when Manziel had to scramble, receivers should have broken off their routes and gotten open)……AND, maybe had the DEFENSE play (period)…and IF the Coaching staff had prepared the TEAM to play……maybe then, Manziel would have stood a chance.

    Johnny was a SITTING DUCK out there.

    Oh Yeah, and then, there was that moment right after Manziel threw that INT in the End Zone and Brian Hoyer (on the sideline) did a little fist pump……….yeah, great TEAM player you are, Brian…jerk!

  102. P.S………Interesting to note, that in that game, the BROWNS had ONLY (38) offensive plays…the fewest offensive plays in a game by ANY NFL team this season.

    Also, that 248+ rushing yards by the BENGALS was the most rushing yards they’ve put up in one game all season long……….WHERE was the BROWNS’ Defense??????????

  103. ESPN…stills pays guys like Jaworski and Steven A. Why anyone still watches, listens, or cares what ESPN’s talking heads think about anything should horrify all of us.

  104. 1) GM Rick S said that they wanted to trade up (as the 3 others) but they did not say (nor would I expect them to) who for. I could be they wanted Teddy (they had them both rated close — that is scary)

    2) Article : High expectations because of draft but low talent kind of reminds me of Ponder (without the attitude issues)

    3) I am happy as heck the VIKES have Ponder

    4) Maybe in a few years JFF develops into a decent-very good QB. No one really knows. Even 6th round talent can improve.

  105. Hoge, 7th round pick himself, or abouts that area. Ten year career: 3,139 rushing yards and 2,133 receiving yards, scoring 34 touchdowns. He may be an expert on low draft status. I could get his Manziel hate if the guy keyed his car, but he doesn’t even know the man hahahaha.

  106. It appears Manziel needed to spend more time studying than partying.

    Nice to see that arrogant smile wiped off his face for once.

    For once he had to do something on his own and earn it instead of his silver spoon, and he failed at it. Money can’t buy everything.

  107. Very sad. Manziel was sabotaged from the start by the Browns, they didnt support him AT ALL during the game. Blown assignments, dropped passes……very sad to see.

    JF can’t do it all himself. His team has to rally behind him and give him the support he needs to win.

  108. @greglloydrules says:
    Dec 15, 2014 2:00 PM
    I’m not a Manziel fan and definitely not a Hoge fan, but give the kid a chance. 1 start is not enough to call him a bust. Hoge should be fired cause he can’t seem to keep his mouth shut.

    Considering Hoge is paid to talk about his opinions, this is hilarious. You might not like them, but saying he should be fired for not keeping his mouth shut is like saying fire the chef for touching the food.

  109. Browns fans are used to meddling owners making poor decisions. Had Modell for 30 years. Firing Paul Brown than forcing Jim Brown’s hand and make him retire says it all. In fact, Haslam hasn’t scratched the surface of AM’s stupid owner moves. But he is learning fast! Using a homeless man as a scout? Really??!!! He should have been worried how to avoid jail time from the FBI and not touched this whole thing.

    I predict this could cost Petine his job. He has to keep playing JFB and the Clowns slide back down to mediocrity from where he had them heading this year, they’ll spend another year trying to prove JFB is a great QB and fire MP cuz he couldn’t get the job done. When his hands were tied. They’ll drop both of them, get a new HC and QB and start the rebuilding again for the 34th time in 35 years.

    I got spoiled fast. At age 7 they won in 64. I had high expectations, but it’s been all down hill since!

  110. How many of y’all actually read the article? Hoge isn’t judging Manziel after 1 game he said all this back in September but while it may have been really premature I personally think he was right. Manziel is overrated. Incredibly overrated. I don’t see his career lasting very long. If anything he should’ve been drafted lower and allowed time to develop. If not for all the hype around him he wouldn’t be in this position right now but at the same time an NFL coaching staff should’ve been smarter than to throw him to the wolves like they did well before he was ready. Should’ve stuck with Hoyer the rest of the season and if he did ok give him training camp and one more season to improve in areas he’s lacking and if not then make the Starting QB spot open competition in next years training camp but either way they didn’t draft Manziel to be a starter this year so barring injury to Hoyer he shouldn’t be starting.

  111. Love all the “non-Manziel fans” here talking about how he should be given a chance to prove himself. Sure, you’re not fans. lol

  112. That’s a steaming hot take from someone who took so many hits to the head he can’t even remember where he lives anymore.

  113. Not JF’s fault he was drafted where he was….was he supposed to say, “Forget that homeless guy, I’ll wait until the fourth round?”

    He can still win big in the NFL. It’s only one game. Let’s see how he does for the rest of the season (now that the pressure of the playoff race is over) and re-evaluate then.

    Maybe, just maybe, that homeless guy can keep his spot on the sidewalk.

  114. Sixth round talent? Ouch. I really don’t like the guy, I think he is a punk, but I would say he is probably third-round talent. He would have been well-served to be able to sit and learn for a couple of years on a team that wasn’t so bad. If fans and the franchise are patient, and if they can keep him from getting killed and improve the players around him, he may have a decent career ahead of him.

  115. I love the backhanded insult. “I feel for you, Johnny. You are not talented but people think you are. You are an just a God awful quarterback and should not have to be put through this because you are terrible. You can’t play but people put you out there like you can. I feel for you, I really do.

  116. No it isn’t that he doesn’t have talent, he is just a step behind the curve. His reads are a second to slow, which is just practicing those reads, watching tape and doin reps till you are numb in the brain. He has an arm, but his release is to long, so more practice, and the biggest thing of all, he is a rookie that needs time to mature. Can he become good, yeah but not in Cleveland. They already expect to much from him, but won’t give him time to fully get there. If anything, he needs to be traded to a team with a solid starter, work under that franchise QB, and develope his skills, but it won’t happen and he’ll be sitting next to Tebow in 2 years

  117. Sooooooooo many terrible QBs in the league and Manziel keeps getting ripped by everybody before he can even play some. How about ripping Geno, Gabbert, Manuel, Fitzpatrick, Lindley, Logan Thomas, Schaub, Weeden, Vick. NONE of these guys belong on an NFL roster. Let’s give Johnny at least 10 starts before we say he should’ve been drafted in the sixth round.

  118. Boo hoo, he had one bad game. At least he’s able to take the field.

    How much mileage has Houston gotten out of Jadeveon Clowney again, Merril? That “once in a generation player” that had a handful of tackles during and after the injuries that has (and will) keep him sidelined, along with his lazy attitude?

    You want to say “bust”, let’s start with the #1 overall.

  119. Here’s the thing… Josh Mcdaniels and Adam Gase are products of being able to have two of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game- Peyton and Tom. Any average Joe could be an offensive coordinator and do well having those two at the helm.
    I want an offensive mind that has accomplished a lot without having an over the moon quarterback. Darrel Bevil in Seattle should get a look for what he has done with Russell Wilson. I feel Bevil could do a lot with the 49ers offense and make Kaep a very good, but probably not great quarterback- just like he has done with Wilson. I’m not sold on Mcdaniels and Gase. Peyton and Tom have made those two “offensive masterminds.” Whereas Bevil has made an average quarterback into a very good one in Wilson. Hopefully the 49ers can see this.

  120. Hoge is right. Manziel will be a bust in the NFL and is another over-hyped Heisman Winner. That award is one of the phoniest awards ever created. It’s all about publicity and has nothing to do what so ever with who the best player in college football is.
    If I were a GM, I’d never draft a Heisman Award winner in the 1st round.

  121. Honestly, Johnny is going up against grown men that has played all season, they are in full war mode. He hasn’t played a full game since college. No amount of practice squad can get u ready for a seaon of NFL. He hasn’t matured, cause he hasn’t played!!! He needs a full season then we will know if he was a bust. Also he might play better & more alert if he stops partying so much. He just wants to party & bs. His work ethics are not there. He will never make it to that level of he don’t stop abusing his body! Highest level Athletes do not drink & carry on like that during season!!! Conditioning & dedication is what Johnny needs to succeed.

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