Tag:Merril Hoge
Posted on: August 22, 2011 7:24 pm

Tracking Tebow: Preseason, Week 2 -- Bills

Posted by Ryan Wilson

That's right, we're tracking Tebow's performance throughout the preseason because, well, like a slow-motion train wreck we can't look away. And who knows, maybe this experiment doesn't derail and it has a happy ending. Wait, what's that? You don't care about Tebow? Then what are you doing here?

Wow, that didn't take long, did it? After a decent showing against the Cowboys in Week 1 of the preseason (documented in great detail here), Tebow was relegated to mop-up duty behind Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn against the Bills in Week. Incidentally, Orton and Brady both played well (10/13, 135 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT and 10/16, 130 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT, respectively). Tebow, meanwhile, was 1 of 2 for a whopping 10 yards. He didn't get in the game until the fourth quarter and played just two series.

Now the conversation isn't about whether Tebow will be the Broncos' starter, but if he can beat Quinn out for the No. 2 job -- and perhaps most amazing -- if the team would consider trading or cutting him weeks after it appeared they were ready to install him as their franchise quarterback.

But hey, this in the NFL where fortunes can change in a hurry. As the old cliche goes, the backup is only one play away from being the starter. Which means that, as it stands, Tebow is two plays away from realizing his dream. With that in mind, it's the latest installment of the Tebow Tracker, where we chart every one of his preseason snaps, the result, and what it all means for him and the Broncos in 2011.

                                                   Play by Play

Preseason, Week 2: Buffalo Bills
Situation Down/Distance Result
1st series, 10:59 left in 4th qtr. 1st & 10, DEN 20 Tebow handoff to B.Minor up the middle to DEN 24 for 4 yards.  (Note: you can see the entire play-by-play log here.)
  2nd & 6, DEN 24 Tebow pass short left to B.Minor to DEN 34 for 10 yards This would be Tebow's only completion of the night.
  1st & 10, DEN 34 Tebow handoff to B.Minor up the middle to DEN 37 for 3 yards.  
  2nd & 7, DEN 37 Tebow pass incomplete deep right to D.Rosario.  
  3rd & 7, DEN 37 (From the shotgun) PENALTY on DEN-Tebow, Delay of Game, 5 yards, enforced at DEN 37 - No Play.  
  3rd & 12, DEN 32 (From the shotgun) Tebow sacked at DEN 26 for -6 yards.  
  4th & 18, DEN 26 PUNT  
2nd series, 4:08 left in 4th qtr. 1st & 10, DEN 6 Tebow handoff to  J.Johnson up the middle to DEN 6 for no gain.  
  2nd & 10, DEN 10 Tebow handoff to J.Johnson up the middle to DEN 10 for 4 yards.  
  3rd & 6, DEN 10 Tebow scrambles left end to DEN 17 for 7 yards.
  1st & 10, DEN 17 Tebow handoff to J.Johnson up the middle to DEN 22 for 5 yards.  
  2nd & 5, DEN 22 Tebow handoff to J.Johnson right tackle to DEN 21 for -1 yards.  
  3rd & 6, DEN 21 Tebow handoff to A.Sylvester up the middle to DEN 22 for 1 yard.  
  4th & 5, DEN 22 (From the shotgun) Tebow pass short right to M.Willis to DAL 24 for 7 yards.  By the time this is over, he could be the greatest handoff specialist the league has ever seen.
  4th & 4, DAL 24 PUNT  


CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman: "The consensus in speaking with a handful of team personnel executives when it comes to one Tim Tebow is this: A trade could happen, but it's becoming increasingly likely the Broncos will keep or cut Tebow because the trade interest is dwindling rapidly. The executives portray the Tebow situation as a complicated one. They believe that while the Broncos are not openly trying to trade Tebow, they say that when teams have recently inquired about him, the Broncos haven't been saying he's off the trading block, either."

CBSSports.com's Gregg Doyel: "[Terrelle] Pryor strikes me as another Vince Young or Tim Tebow, and we all see what kind of success Vince Young and Tebow have had, so far, as NFL quarterbacks."

ESPN Analyst (and vocal Tebow critic) Merril Hoge, as paraphrased by ESPN.com blogger Bill Williamson: "On 'SportsCenter' Monday, NFL analyst Merril Hoge (who has been highly critical of Tebow’s ability this summer) said Denver should cut Tebow if it can’t work out a trade with St. Louis. Former Denver head coach Josh McDaniels, who drafted Tebow with the No. 25 overall pick last year, is now the Rams’ offensive coordinator. With budding star Sam Bradford quarterbacking St. Louis, Tebow wouldn’t be more than a backup and special-package player in St. Louis."

ESPN.com blogger Bill Williamson, in his own words: "Don’t expect Quinn to give up his backup spot in the coming days. Tebow played late and he didn’t do much. The fact that Quinn threw 16 passes and Tebow tossed just two shows the team is much more interested in seeing Quinn play than seeing Tebow at this point. Tebow’s arrow is simply not pointing in the right direction as we approach the start of the season."

Denver Post columinst Woody Paige: "Tim Tebow will be the Broncos' starting quarterback this season. ... But The Tebow Thing won't happen until Dec. 11."

                                                   Action Shots*

*Last week, there were real, live action shots of Tebow playing in a real, live preseason game (proof here). Against the Bills, Tebow did a lot of standing around, and when he got into the game he was either handing off or getting sacked. We think that is pretty well reflected below. We like to call it: "standing, standing, handoff, sack, fin."

Assuming Tebow is still in the league, please join us next week for another installment of "Tracking Tebow." You know you want to.

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Posted on: August 18, 2011 4:34 pm

Don't ask Orton about his relationship with Tebow

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Broncos host the Bills Saturday in their second game of the preseason, and as has been the case for almost the entirety of training camp, Kyle Orton will likely be the starting quarterback. Orton gives Denver the best chance to win now, although this doesn't preclude Tim Tebow from maturing into a capable NFL quarterback down the road.

(Obviously, ESPN analyst Merril Hoge disagrees with this, but then again, he also thought Brian Brohm would be a better NFL QB than Aaron Rodgers. The takeaway: you can't predict everything; at some point you have to let guys prove they can't play. And while Tebow isn't better than Orton, he'll probably get a shot to be an NFL starter at some point in his career.)

For now, though, it's Orton's job. And while he's happy to talk about the mundane -- what training camp has been like, when things really started clicking for him, the burden of being called a "game manager", etc… -- Orton wanted no part of a discussion involving The Backup Who Shan't Be Named. Here's his response to a seemingly innocuous question about how much coaching and mentoring Orton does with Tim Tebow (via Sports Radio Interviews):

Can Tebow make it as an NFL QB?

“I don’t do any coaching, I take coaching," he said. "I’m a very coachable player so I take coaching. … I’ll answer any questions that anybody’s got and Tim’s asked me a lot of questions this camp. I’ve been there and can answer them for him and I’ll ask questions of Brady and he’ll ask questions of me. I think we’ve got a good quarterback group. I think a lot of the stuff is overblown. I don’t live any relationship through the media, so people want to come out and [ask], ‘How’s your relationship, how’s this?’ That’s nobody’s business but our own.”

That response is usually reserved for inquiries about a player's private life. In Orton's case, his relationship with a teammate is also nobody's business.

Fair enough. And truthfully, it's the right thing to say if for no other reason than to discourage others from asking it, too (although we doubt it will).

Orton has stated previously that "My first goal is to win over my teammates, to win over my coaches, and I think I'm well on my way to doing that. … My last goal playing quarterback is to win over the fans." And we believe him. Orton doesn't appear to care what fans or media think. And perceptions in August don't mean much anyway. If the Broncos win, Orton will be popular. If they don't, the calls for Tebow will intensify.

Either way, Orton ain't talking about it.

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

Merril Hoge still unimpressed with Tim Tebow

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).

CBSSports.com'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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Posted on: August 5, 2011 11:57 am

Tebow on starting job: 'it was grabbed back away'

Posted by Ryan Wilson

After an offseason filled with promise, the reality of what it means to be an NFL quarterback has slapped Tim Tebow across the face. It wasn't long ago that Tebow was thought to be the Broncos' future. Kyle Orton was on the trading block, the team's 2010 first-round pick would assume his role under center and get Denver back to winning and the playoffs, all would be right with the world. 

Except a deal to send Orton to the Dolphins fell through, Orton promptly outplayed Tebow in practice, and then Merril Hoge took to Twitter to announce (with many, many exclamation points), among other things, that "It's embarrassing to think the Broncos could win with Tebow!!"

Tebow responded to Hoge via Twitter with a "'preciate that," and even LeBron James came to his defense.

On Thursday, Tebow, speaking with the Denver Post's Woody Paige, sounded, well, frustrated with the recent turn of events (and understandably so).

"My dream, since I was a young boy, of being a starting quarterback in the NFL seemed to be coming true," Tebow told Paige. "Then, I felt like it was grabbed back away. . . ."

Tebow, we think, is referring to the trade-that-didn't-materialize that would've shipped Orton out of town. While new head coach John Fox has publicly stated that the job is Orton's, the word on the street is that he will be under center when the Broncos begin the season.

As for the media criticism, Tebow, like Chad Henne in Miami, has had trouble ignoring it.

"I'm trying to insulate myself from what people in the media are saying, but I've seen some of it, and it hurts because it's coming from people who haven't seen me practice, haven't seen me play, haven't seen what I can do," he said, according to Paige. "I did an interview the other day with someone on the NFL Network who said last year I'd never play a down in the NFL. He was wrong.

"Others who say I won't make it are wrong. They don't know what I'm capable of and what's inside me. My family and my friends have been bothered by what's gone on, and I tell them to pay no attention to it. I'm relying as always on my faith."

As we mentioned on Friday's Eye on Football Podcast, we think most people would agree that Orton gives the Broncos the best chance to win now, although Tebow could one day be an NFL starting QB. It's just that the day hasn't arrived yet. So while Hoge's sentiments aren't particularly controversial, the way he delivered them clearly rubbed some people the wrong way, including Tebow.

So is that a problem? Or is public criticism part of the implicit deal professional athletes make when they sign lucrative contracts and play on national television every week?

Because, clearly, Tebow and Henne would disagree with that last paragraph.

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Posted on: August 5, 2011 10:46 am
Edited on: August 9, 2011 10:48 am

Podcast: Tim Tebow vs. Merril Hoge - Who ya got?

Posted by Eye on Football Staff

Merril Hoge took to Twitter earlier this week to share his thoughts on Tim Tebow, NFL quarterback. Hoge, to put it mildly, was unimpressed with what he saw. So, naturally, we talk about it on the podcast.

We think most rational folks would agree that Kyle Orton gives the Broncos the best chance to win now, although Tebow could one day be an NFL starting QB. It's just that the day hasn't arrived yet. So while Hoge's sentiments aren't particularly controversial, the way he delivered them clearly rubbed some people the wrong way, including Tebow. So is that a problem? Or is public criticism part of the implicit deal professional athletes make when they sign lucrative contracts and play on national television every week?

In other news, we discuss the Dolphins' quarterback situation, the Jets' wide receivers situation, and pose the hypothetical question: of the three wideouts, who would you want: Randy Moss, Plaxico Burress or Braylon Edwards?

Talking starts below. (Just hit the play button and don't forget to Subscribe via iTunes.)

Posted on: August 4, 2011 9:16 am

LeBron James takes to Twitter to defend Tim Tebow

Posted by Will Brinson

On Wednesday, ESPN analyst Merril Hoge came a bit unhinged on Twitter (and then later on television) in ranting against the ability of Tim Tebow to play quarterback. He said some things that wiil -- should Tebow become a successful NFL quarterback -- probably come back and haunt him in the form of spliced-up highlight reels.

For the moment, he simply has to deal with millions of people complaining about him on Twitter. That group of folks include Miami Heat forward and NBA superstar LeBron James.

"Listened to Merril Hoge today on SC and he was just blasting Tebow," LeBron tweeted on Wednesday night. "The man hasn't even play a full season and its only his 2nd year in."

"Guys get on that TV and act like they was all WORLD when they played," LeBron added shortly after the initial tweet. "How bout encouraging him and wishing him the best instead of hating!!"

Well, one of the reasons Hoge went 'naners on Tebow is probably explained not just in LeBron's tweets but this very post: attention. As an analyst, Hoge wants people talking about him and right now, they certainly are.

I don't have beef with Hoge's ranting for the reasons that LeBron does -- it's Hoge's job to get on television and provide analysis of current NFL players, regardless of whether or not he was "all world" when he played.

My beef is that he's basically taking a no-risk proposition on Tebow. What are the odds that Tebow becomes successful this year? Pretty low -- he's on a franchise in transition with a coach who only likes veteran quarterbacks and a "traditional" quarterback running the show. He's still got lots of transition before he's ready to actually play in the NFL.

In fact, Kyle Orton would need to suffer a serious injury -- and Tebow would need to make serious strides -- in order for Hoge to get torched on this argument any time in the near future.

And in that sense, LeBron is right, because Hoge's approach (which drew/is drawing a TON of attention) could have been calmer, more professional and, actually, much nicer.

Perhaps he just hates unorthodox quarterbacks. As you can tell from the second link from the top, Hoge isn't a big fan of Vince Young. He's been proven right over the long run on VY, but man-oh-man did Young torch him for a while.

Hoge's rant rallied support behind Young the last time around. As he continues to inexplicably crusade against Tebow, you can expect the former Gator to -- somehow -- continue to become even more popular.

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Posted on: August 3, 2011 11:17 am
Edited on: August 3, 2011 11:21 pm

Merril Hoge thinks Orton deserves job over Tebow

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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Posted on: January 13, 2011 11:43 am

Hot Routes 1.13.10: Orange ties are always in

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • John Fox brought an orange tie to his interview with the Broncos on Wednesday. And after getting delayed by weather twice earlier this week, Fox finally actually made it to Denver. So, what separates him from the other Broncos candidates? "I've been doing it. I have a plan, whether it's a bye week schedule, a training camp schedule. It's not my first rodeo, so to speak," Fox told the Associated Press. "So, I think I do have a blueprint to do it. We've had success, some years more than others. But you know the full body of work I think holds a blueprint for success."
  • And while we’re talking about Polamalu, the NY Times does a nice job on the spiritual side of the guy with the best hair in the league.
  • The Steelers Lounge caught up with Merril Hoge about this weekend’s Steelers-Ravens game.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com