Vince Young's Throwback Performance Solidifies Backup Position

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Vince Young's Throwback Performance Solidifies Backup Position
Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

I'll never forget the night of January 4th, 2006.

That night, Vince Young beat all odds and put up arguably the greatest performance in college football history.

It was the 92nd Rose Bowl between No. 2 Texas and No. 1 USC.  Riding a 34-game winning streak, Southern California was ranked by some as the greatest college football team ever.  It was a forgone conclusion that USC would take home the trophy.

But, as the saying goes, that's why they play the games.

In front of 93,986 mesmerized fans, Vince Young threw for 267 yards and ran for another 200.  His 497 total yards still stands as the Rose Bowl record, and his game-winning touchdown run with 19 seconds left is widely considered a top-five play in college football history.

That performance propelled him to the third pick of the 2006 NFL draft.  After a stellar rookie season with the Tennessee Titans, Young was named Offensive Rookie of the Year and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl.

However, only a few years later, after unproductive stints with the Eagles and Bills, Vince Young was out of NFL.


Then, on August 6th, 2013, Young signed a one-year contract with the Green Bay Packers

Still, many believed Young was brought into camp only to replicate the read-option offense the Packers faced early in the season against Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III.

Against the Cardinals, in his first game action in nearly a year, Young failed to inspire.  It was the same story a week later against the St. Louis Rams.

Then came the Seattle Seahawks, and the world caught a glimpse of the old Vince Young.

With 9:38 left in the third quarter, Young entered the game.  On his first series, Young led the Packers on a 10-play drive in which he scrambled for runs of 21 and 18 yards.  He capped the drive with a beautiful play-action pass in the flats for a touchdown.

Young's stat-line for the night was impressive, but what stuck out most were his instincts in the pocket.  When the offensive line faltered, Young rolled out and found the open receiver.  When a lane opened, Young seized it and ran for big gains.

Simply put, he looked like his old self.

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With Graham Harrell playing another good-not-great game against the Seahawks, Young may have done enough to solidify himself as Aaron Rodgers' backup.

If that's the case, Young must get a better grasp of the Packers offense.

Against the Seahawks, it appeared Young called timeout because he was unclear about the play McCarthy called.  That won't fly during the regular season.

But if you're an optimist, Young's unfamiliarity with the playbook is a good thing.  If Young shined against the Seahawks, how good can he be once he learns the offense?

Only time will tell, but for now it seems the Packers have found their backup.

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