It seems like a lifetime ago when Vince Young was awarded with the honor of being featured on the cover of EA Sports' Madden 2008 (that backfired).
Even longer since he became just the second QB in the Super Bowl era to ever win Rookie of the Year.
Now, Vince Young has finally shown his face with a somewhat-controversial statement attached.
"If these guys don't want me in there, it's time to make a career change for myself because the fact is I'm ready to play ball. If they're not ready for me to play ball, then somebody else is," Young said.
Thanks, of course, to SportsCenter, Young's recent interview clip courtesy of WMAR-TV, is being replayed over and over again. And with different ESPN "NFL expert" opinions to break it down.
Mark Schlereth said that Vince Young doesn't have the "acumen" to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. He then compared him to Matt Ryan, who "played with the intelligence necessary" to be a starting QB in the league. I always wondered how these analysts know how intelligent players are.
And I'm not one to play this card often, believe me, but it seems like race has a little something to do with his opinion. Comparing the golden boy, or Boston College Golden Eagle, to the athlete, Texas Longhorn.
How can anyone even make a comparison? They're completely different players and the Titans knew this when they drafted Vince Young.
Trent Dilfer attacked Young for self-proclaiming his style as being a " play-maker." Dilfer said that the best way NFL quarterbacks make plays are "within the confines of the pocket."
Again, that's not Vince Young, it's not the type of player he is. And the Titans drafted Vince Young to be Vince Young.
Dilfer added that the only way Young could win the job this year was if starter Kerry Collins got hurt.
Funny—because I said the same thing about Kerry Collins after Young won Rookie of the Year and then led the Titans to the playoffs the very next season.
And what do you know, Young sprains his knee in Week One last season and Collins is forced to start. The stout Tennessee defense as well as its strong running game leads the Titans to the top of the AFC South and all proclaim Kerry Collins a hero.
Dilfer said Collins "played very well last year" and expects him to play even better next year.
First, let's take a look at Collins' "great" year in 2008.
Collins completed just above 58 percent of his passes with only 167 passing yards per game. He threw 12 touchdowns to seven interceptions, not bad. But some were calling for Collins to be MVP last season.
Now you're telling me he's going to play better at age 37?
Now we'll look at Vince Young's 2006 rookie season. Keep in mind, Tennessee's Pro-Bowl RB last season, Chris Johnson was still playing college ball, fellow 2008 pro-bowler Albert Haynesworth recorded 6.5 less sacks and 21 less tackles, and RB LenDale White ran for 15 fewer TD's in 2006—he had zero.
Young's completion percentage was pretty low at 52 percent but only six percent less than Collins' '08 mark. He threw for 147 yards per game, just 20 yards shy of Collins. Young also threw 12 touchdowns but gave away 13 interceptions compared to Collins' six. Compared to a Pro-Bowl stand-in, Young's numbers weren't bad at all.
Don't forget that this was his rookie season whereas Kerry Collins was a 15-year veteran with Super Bowl experience.
Now, compared to Collins' 49 yards rushing, Young scampered for 552 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.
The next season Young increased his completion percentage to 62 percent and also threw for 169 yards per game. His touchdown to interception ratio certainly regressed but he also led his team to a 10-win season and a playoff berth.
This, only two seasons after being the third-worst team in the league.
He did go on to lose that playoff game, but last season Kerry Collins also lost his only playoff game as Titans' QB and like Young, threw zero touchdowns and one interception.
Yes, we all know that Vince Young has had issues—almost retiring after his rookie year and having a "mental breakdown" of sorts after his injury last season. And the "success" of the Titans last season didn't help Young's case.
But I believe Young's recent comments show his eagerness to return to the playing field, the improvement of his health, and the confidence that he is the best QB on the Titans roster.
If Tennessee doesn't give him a legitimate shot at the starting spot, another team should.
UPDATE: After having a very strong 2009-10 season, Tennessee faltered in 2010-2011, Vince Young was benched after a thumb injury late this season, and he never got his job back from Kerry Collins. When the Titans were eliminated from the playoffs, it was rumored that either Coach Jeff Fisher or Young may be let go by the team as the two are at odds.
I don't believe Jeff Fisher and the Titans get the most out of Young or try to game-plan for him enough. It's almost as if Fisher is too afraid of what might happen if he gives Young more responsibility. In order for VY to be effective he has to be given freedom to make plays, and the Titans need to call more designed runs and handoff/run options with Chris Johnson for him.
But it doesn't seem Fisher wants to work with Young so we'll see who stays and who goes.
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