Caleb Williams

Merril Hoge dives deeper into his comments about Caleb Williams not being ‘special'

Hoge explains why he doesn't believe Williams is a special talent as a quarterback

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Ex-NFL player Merril Hoge went viral with comments he made about USC quarterback Caleb Williams, saying the probable No. 1 pick is "not special."

Speaking with NBC Sports Chicago at Radio Row in Las Vegas, Hoge shared his disdain with Williams' tape at USC. For reference, Hoge told NBC Sports Chicago at that time he was only halfway through Williams' tape. But he hasn't seen anything special thus far.

"The one thing that is clear [is that] he is not special," Hoge said. "He is not something unique like Patrick Mahomes. And I hope the Bears don't think 'Well, let's try to make up for our mistake for when we passed on Patrick Mahomes and go get Patrick Mahomes.' The kid is not Patrick Mahomes. He ain't even remotely close to that."


"First of all, his ability to throw on the run is very disturbing," Hoge said. "It is very inaccurate and it's all over the place. There's a ton of RPO, which nobody is going to RPO themselves to a Super Bowl in our league. ... You gotta push the ball down the field. There are times when he does that. He doesn't play with a lot of anticipation because of all the clean pockets that exist for him.

"The thing that's disturbing me right now is his inability to be consistent on the move as a thrower. And he's willing to do that a lot more than he has to. You don't have that choice in our league. ... I don't see anything magical with his arm. There's not enough there at this point for me to be like we're getting rid of Justin Fields and bring this guy in, who's never played in the National Football League and has to overcome all of those hurdles just to give us a chance to win."

Speaking with 670 The Score about his comments from Radio Row, Hoge offered a deeper insight into his comments about Williams' abilities.

"From a pocket presence, he is not special," Hoge said. "He has a gift that everybody thinks is exciting and special and that is his unique mobility. That's not going to win you championships and being exciting is not a skillset."

Hoge argued the skills that Williams are lauded for most --- his elusiveness, his playmaking and his off-script abilities --- don't matter as much as his pocket presence and his ability to process things quickly.

To Hoge, Williams doesn't possess a "special ability" in those areas. He also criticized USC's offense, saying it works for college but wouldn't work in the NFL.

However, Hoge tipped his cap to Williams for one ability he would assess as special.

"When you look at Caleb, the one thing that I am telling you is unique, is unique as I have seen it, and I've been doing this for 40 years from playing, coaching and studying. His accuracy is unique. And that is a gift," Hoge said.

Despite the gifts Williams possesses, Hoge says the expectations for his abilities are overdrawn.

"This expectation that he is Patrick Mahomes is going to be a daunting thing."

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