Posts Tagged ‘Merril Hoge’

What do you think about Vince Young now, Merril Hoge and ESPN?

December 20, 2009

So Vince Young is now 7-1 this year as a starting QB for the Tennessee Titans.  He replaced Kerry Collins, who was 0-6 as a starter.  Vince Young’s career record as a starter is 25-12.  Oh, by the way, at Texas he won a national championship and was 30-2.  He’s a winner.  Yet after he took over and started winning for the Titans this year, ESPN’s Merril Hoge said that Titans RB Chris Johnson had to do more for his team than any other player in the league.  Well, Johnson was playing when the Titans were 0-6.

A couple of weeks ago Hoge said he was going to “bury the hatchet.” Why the need to bury the hatchet if you didn’t have an axe to grind? Why not just be objective and unbiased?  Why the animosity against Young?  Earlier this year, Ron Jaworski, Trent Dilfer, Tim Hasselbeck, Mark Schlereth, Steve Young and other ESPN commentators talked about how Young was a bad QB and how he could only play outside the pocket.   The disdain they had for him was apparent.  They mocked him.  But eight games is enough of a sample to realize that Young winning isn’t a fluke.

It’s true that Johnson is the best running back in the league, but it’s not as if Young has great receivers.  Nate Washington, Justin Gage, and Kenny Britt aren’t bad, but DBs don’t especially fear them.  Maybe Young has improved his ability to make decisions and work habits. But even before this season he was 18-11.  He’s only in his fourth year, and he hardly played last year.

I think we have to raise the question:  was the media biased against Young because he is black?  Young isn’t the first black quarterback to be mocked by members of the white media.  Michael Vick has a career record of 38-28-1 as a starter, but the criticism about his ability as a QB has been unrelenting.  Take away the dogfighting controversy — that’s a separate issue.  You would think that Vick can’t read a defense by listening to some of the comments about him.  I have a pretty good idea that if a white quarterback was 25-12 or 38-28-1, he’d be getting a lot more praise. The standard is much higher for black quarterbacks.

At the same time, white quarterbacks are allowed to make mistakes. Look at Jay Cutler.  Basically, if you had listened to the media reaction, Cutler was the second coming when he was traded from the Broncos to the Bears. He has a career record of 22-28.  (He did have a winning record in high school, though).  I suggested earlier this year that he be the first player ever to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame while still playing: 2009/11/12/should-jay-cutler-be-immediately-put-in-the-nfl-hall-of-fame/

Interestingly, in that same blog, I talked about the fact that the Cleveland Browns needed to give Joshua Cribbs more playing time including at QB. Cribbs was a QB in college and set all kinds of records at Kent State, but was never given the chance to be a QB in the NFL.  He had two 100-yard kickoff returns for TDs today, and eight for his career — an NFL record.  He also runs for six yards a carry.  He also threw a perfect pass in the end zone that was dropped. I suggested that the Redskins trade for him earlier this year.  Cribbs is clearly one of the 10 best players in the NFL.

Anyway, another possibility of why ESPN hated Young so much was because he had depression earlier in his career.  Hoge and the others may have been discriminating against Young because of this.  They may have equated depression with weakness.  If someone has a concussion you don’t laugh at them for it.

Sorry, Hoge.  Young has won more than twice as many games as he has lost.  But I guess you don’t like winners.

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Where is the NFL Blitz?

November 22, 2009

Why do we have the C Team on right now — Merril Hoge and Mike Ditka — providing analysis on today’s NFL games, instead of Chris Berman and Tom Jackson on the NFL Blitz?  We need highlights — not a studio show with ESPN’s worst analysts.  NFL Primetime used to be the best show ever — an hour long wrap-up highlight show of the NFL games.  Now the Blitz is all done in bits and pieces, and they’re not even doing that.

Ok, now the A-team is on.  But why not have them on the whole time?

Merril Hoge: Get a Life and get off Vince Young’s Back

November 16, 2009

I recently wrote a blog that said that sports analysis has overtaken news analysis in terms of objectivity and professionalism.  Not so for ESPN’s Merril Hoge.  He continues his hatred of Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young.

Today on NFL Countdown he said of Young:  “It’s easy to play offense when this guy (Chris Johnson) is the guy you can give the ball to… Is there any running back that has to do more for his offense than Chris Johnson?  No.”  Then why is Young 3-0 this year and Kerry Collins was 0-6 with the same players?  Why is Young 21-11 as a starter?

Now Hoge says that Patriots coach Bill Belichick made the right call last night by going for it on 4th and 2 from the Pats’ 28 yard line, up by 6 points, giving Peyton Manning a short field to win the game.

What a fool.

Should Jay Cutler be Immediately put in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

November 12, 2009

I’m thinking that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, because of his arm strength and passing yardage, should be automatically voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  It’s not too early to consider Cutler the best ever.  Meanwhile, Titans quarterback Vince Young should be kicked out of the NFL.

Cutler has a career record of 21-25.  Young has a career record of 20-11.  But winning doesn’t matter.  It’s how you do it.

I’m exaggerating just a bit.  But how about judging players on the same criteria, or at least make winning even just part of the equation?

Sorry, Mark Schlereth, Merril Hoge, Trent Dilfer, Tim Hasselbeck, and Rich Gannon.  Gannon:  can you say anything other than Vince Young can’t read defenses?  How long did it take you to become a good quarterback?  Give Vince Young a chance.  Don’t judge him using different standards than Cutler.

In reality, Young does have some deficiencies, and Cutler has a lot of talent.  But do you get the picture?  Could it be that Cutler is overrated and Young is underrated?  Why the vitriol against Young?

***

Switching gears for a minute, I’ll admit that sometimes I’m wrong.  In an earlier post I suggested that Browns fans were wrong in wanting Brady Quinn to start at QB ahead of Derek Anderson.  Both players have had terrible years.  I have an idea, though.  How about putting Joshua Cribbs at QB, or at least running the Wildcat with him?  He has a great arm and game-breaking speed.  He can’t do any worse than Anderson or Quinn.  He started at QB at Kent State.  In fact, according to Wikipedia, Cribbs is “one of only four players in NCAA history to both rush and pass for 1,000 yards in at least two different seasons, the others being Beau Morgan of Air ForceVince Young of Texas, and Pat White of West Virginia. Cribbs, in fact, accomplished the feat three times. He is one of only three quarterbacks in NCAA history to rush for 3,500 yards and throw for 7,000 yards in his career (the other two being Antwaan Randle-El of Indiana and Brad Smith of Missouri. Cribbs is also the only player in NCAA history to lead his team in both rushing and passing in four different seasons.”

I saw Cribbs play a game against Ohio State in the Horseshoe and I knew then Cribbs would be an NFL player.  Mid-American Conference QBs Ben Roethlisberger, Chad Pennington, and Byron Leftwich all made it as starting NFL quarterbacks and Charlie Frye is a backup. Cleveland, get your best player into the lineup, if not at quarterback, then at Wildcat quarterback, and if not there then start him at wide receiver.

What do you think about Vince Young now, Mark Schlereth and Merril Hoge?

November 2, 2009

Vince Young had a good game today as he completed 15 of 18 passes for 125 yards and a TD and rushed for 31 yards in a 30-13 win for Tennessee over Jacksonville.  His record as a starter is now 19-11.  Sorry, Mark Schlereth, Merril Hoge, Tim Hasselbeck, Trent Dilfer, and everybody else at ESPN who hates Young and thinks he can’t play. What are you going to say at the end of the year when Young has gone about 6-4 when they went 0-6 without him?

Why does ESPN Hate Vince Young so much?

June 2, 2009

ESPN’s Mark Schlereth said something today that I thought was totally out of line.  He said of Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young, “You don’t have the football acumen to play the position the way it needs to be played.”  That was exceedingly harsh considering that Young has only played two full seasons (last year, he got hurt and replaced by Kerry Collins).

This is just another example of the fact that in the NFL, winning doesn’t matter – it matters more how you do it.  I guess Schlereth doesn’t like Young’s mobility or long windup.  Young has a career record of 18-11 as a starter.  The two years before Young came to the Titans, they were 9-23.  So Young has a career record of 18-11 and he’s considered a bust?  Jay Cutler, in the same draft class as Young, has a career record of 17-20, and Cutler, who had QB guru Mike Shanahan coaching him, is considered a demigod by the media (though Schlereth has also criticized Cutler).

Sound familiar?  In another blog entry I talk about the fact that Josh McCown, with a career record of 1-7, is the favorite to be the starter in Tampa Bay despite the fact that Byron Leftwich has a 24-20 career record, and Tampa eventually wants to give the job to a rookie who hasn’t proven anything.

Young’s stats aren’t that great but he has been working with some of the worst wide receivers in the NFL.  He also led four fourth quarter comebacks during his rookie season when he was named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.  During one of those comebacks, Young overcame a 21-0 nothing deficit to the New York Giants.  Another win was over the 10-1 Indianapolis Colts, who were leading by 14 points.

Young was named one of the 10 best college football players of all-time by ESPN, so isn’t it a little too early to give up on him – after an 18-11 record as a starter, a trip to the playoffs, and only two full seasons?  Collins has earned the starting job after a great season last year, but don’t give up on Young just yet.  I don’t blame Young for wanting to play and avoid potentially missing another full year from his career.

I don’t like it when a high draft pick is given a starting job based on potential instead of earning it.  At the same time, though, it’s just as bad when someone is counted out prematurely.  It is a little bit ironic that quarterbacks like Collins, Young, and Leftwich all fit both descriptions.

At the same time, Young should work hard and know that Collins might get injured, and there would be a good chance that he will get in and play about half the season anyway.

It’s not just Schlereth, though.  ESPN’s Trent Dilfer has been critical of Young and Merril Hoge has had well publicized verbal dust ups with Young.  It seems like for someone who has never had a losing season and who you would expect to get better and not worse, Young has come under undue criticism.

Schlereth is sounding a little like Charles Barkley – say something with authority and you must be right.  He’s also a little like Kenny Smith – an average player who was lucky to have Hall of Famers like John Elway with the Broncos and Art Monk and Darrell Green with the Redskins to get him championship rings.  Most of Schlereth’s commentary is great but with statements like “You don’t have the football acumen to play the position the way it needs to be played,” and “You’re no good at playing quarterback,” maybe Schlereth should get rid of any personal vendettas, study more football and do less soap opera acting.