Titans-Bucs: Vince Young Builds Confidence, Leads Titans to Second Preseason Win

Eric RobertsContributor IAugust 17, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 15: Vince Young #10 of the Tennessee Titans looks on against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a preseason NFL game at LP Field on August 15, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

Kerry Collins did not have one of his better outings this Saturday, throwing two interceptions in just over one quarter of work, the first of which was thrown short of a double-covered Nate Washington on a seam route. 

On the other hand, Vince Young looked sharp at times, completing 9-of-14 passing for 131 yards and a TD.

Young is showing more resilience in the face of adversity so far this year. Young came back from an early interception to perform well against Buffalo and regained his confidence after an ill-advised desperation lateral to Lendale White late in the second quarter against Tampa Bay.  

The Titans received the ball to start the second half and Young responded maturely, leading the team to a TD drive when he found rookie Kenny Britt for a 38-yard touchdown pass.

Young scrambled under duress, drew up the secondary, and smartly threw it over them to a wide open Britt.

The Titans could use a big play threat at wide receiver as the team only had one passing touchdown last year of a greater distance (56 yards in week 11 vs. Jacksonville, Gage). Young delivered the ball quickly and accurately several times in the flats to open receivers, hitting them in stride, allowing them to turn up field quickly for extra yards.

Compared to the rest of the league, the Titans' second and third team quarterbacks have both looked good so far.  Patrick Ramsey could be playing his way onto someone’s roster, be it the Titans' or not. His solid performances have increased the likelihood of a trade scenario going into the regular season. 

The running game was rather anemic Saturday night with the exception of Javon Ringer’s touchdown scamper and a couple of Vince Young scrambles. Seeing limited action, starters Lendale White and Chris Johnson were held in check.  

It’s still the preseason but rookie Kenny Britt had an impressive showing in Saturday night’s game.

Britt was on the receiving end of the 38-yard touchdown pass from Young and a 30-yard strike in the second quarter to set up a field goal.  He caught balls in traffic, didn’t cough up the rock, and used his size to fend off a smaller cornerback extending himself past the distance marker on an important 3rd-and-2 play. 

Rookie corner Ryan Mouton made a great break on an out route thrown by Josh Freeman early in the fourth quarter. Mouton took it the other way untouched for six.

All the new signees showed well.

Jared Cook led the receivers with six catches for 56 yards while Britt was arguably the most impressive new face of the night, catching five for 89. Fourth round signee Gerald McRath out of Southern Miss led the defense with eight solo tackles.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher said about the rookies' performances, “I think you have to expect those kinds of plays out of them. Like I said last night, when you’re drafting players in skill positions that are handling the ball, they’re receivers, running backs, and DB’s, you expect that. When that happens it’s good to see, especially in the second half.” 

The most interesting playing time battle coming out of this camp could be between William Hayes and Jevon Kearse at left end. The second-year player Hayes from small Winston-Salem College has performed well, receiving praise from Fisher in his Sunday press conference. 

Fisher said of Hayes' play, “He’s really coming along. He’s at the point now where we can play him more. I feel like we’re going to get a lot of big plays out of him. Not only in run defense but also from the pass rush standpoint.”

Fisher went on to say the choice of whether to play Kearse or Hayes was a good problem to have as the Titans have built quality depth on the defensive front.   

The staunch play on the D-line has been a welcome sight to the fans and organization after the loss of Albert Haynesworth to the Redskins.

One of the more entertaining moments of the night was an unnecessary roughness call by Ed Hochuli on Titan Kevin Nickerson, a defensive lineman.  Hochuli stated “he picked up the quarterback and threw him to the ground,” which was an exaggeration of the truth.

From the television camera angle, Nickerson hit Leftwich as the ball was being released, caught him off the ground a little, and fell on him.  Point being, this continuing campaign by the NFL to protect the quarterback is becoming ridiculous.

It is most harmful to teams like the Titans (and the Redskins and Bucs) which are built around strong defense. The call really drew the ire of Jeff Fisher who serves as co-chair on the competition committee which issued a point of emphasis to officiating crews this year pertaining to quarterback protection (the Brady Rule, low hit).