Every year around this time, Merrill Hoge picks his favorite NFL player and knocks him down a couple pegs. On Wednesday, Sportsline.com reported that Johnny Manziel and his fan base felt the wrath of Merrill Hoge during an interview on 102.5 WDVE in Pittsburgh.
The Cleveland Browns play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, and while Brian Hoyer is the starter, all the talk continues to be about Johnny Manziel. Some Pittsburgh Steelers even believe they’ll see Manziel in certain situations. That’s where Merrill Hoge believes the Steelers’ defense wants him to No.2 to walk out on the field.
Here's an Excerpt of the Merrill Hoge interview via Sportsline.com. "If you're the Steelers defense you want No. 2 to walk out on that field. You want him on that field," Hoge said. "He has no business being on the field right now. This is the one thing that probably burns me more about the NFL more than anything, is when a player like Johnny Manziel is drafted based on hype and excitement, not a true football skill."
Apparently, Merrill Hoge doesn’t believe Johnny Manziel should have been drafted in the first round. Hoge stated “He really had no business being drafted in the first round.” Merrill Hoge continues to state that there really isn’t one skill set of Johnny Manziel’s that translates to the NFL.
That’s a lot of harsh criticism for a player that hasn’t taken a real snap in the NFL. It’s even more mind boggling because Johnny Manziel is not expected to play on Sunday. Merrill Hoge says that Johnny Football is receiving too much attention, yet he couldn’t help but create more attention for the rookie quarterback.
Matter of fact, whatever Johnny Manziel does will not be good enough in Merrill Hoge’s eyes. It sounds like Hoge hopes that Manziel’s career is over sooner than later. Maybe behind closed doors his tone is a little different, but when the lights and microphones are on, Merrill Hoge likes to create controversy as much as give analysis.
Now it's up to Johnny Manziel to not flame out of the league in a couple of years, and prove Merrill Hoge wrong. If that happens, what are the chances that Merrill Hoge will admit that he's wrong?