Bud Adams did it again.
Just like the Tennessee Titans owner did in 2006, Vince Young’s rookie season, Adams handed down the executive decree to start Young this season after an 0-6 start and the move has paid dividends.
In 2006, Kerry Collins was the starting quarterback for the Titans and the team began the season 0-3. Adams demanded that Young start that next weekend against the Dallas Cowboys, and the quarterback electrified the Titans. Young became the 2006 Offensive Rookie of the Year, putting the Titans on the brink of reaching of the playoffs with an 8-8 record.
Fast forward to 2009 and similar circumstances forced Adams to make the same move. The Titans were 0-6 heading into their bye week with Collins as the starter, and head coach Jeff Fisher was intent on sticking with his veteran quarterback. Adams again made it public that he wanted to see what Young could do, and the owner got his way as Young got the nod after the bye week.
One again, Young has not disappointed.
He’s been as efficient as ever, completing 61 percent of his passes while throwing 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has a 93.0 passer rating, good for 13th among active quarterbacks.
Usually when owners make coaching decisions, it doesn’t turn out well (ex. Jerry Jones,) but Adams’s decisions to start Young have been integral for the Titans.
What’s more incredible is that almost everyone in Tennessee; fans, the newspaper writers and even his head coach never expected Young to play again for the Titans. Even Young’s diehard fans at his alma mater, the University of Texas, were beginning to question if he could put it all together.
However, Young has fought through total adversity and is the key reason why the Titans have a shot-- albeit a slim one-- at being the first team to start 0-6 and reach the playoffs. The difference between Young’s 2009 play and his rookie season is Young’s newfound comfort in the pocket passing game. In college and in his first few seasons in the pros, Young was hesitant to stay in the pocket and preferred to move outside and either take off or throw on the run. Now he has shown multiple times that he can set his feet and beat teams with just his arm.
His improvements have not only been restricted to the football field.
In the past, the only stories people ever heard about Young off the field was that he was egotistical and a head case. Now, in one of the most heartwarming stories of the NFL season, Young has become a father/older brother to Steve McNair’s sons taking them out after games and letting them hang out in the Titans locker room.
After coming back from such a complete fall from grace in the NFL, there should be little doubt that Young is the Titans franchise quarterback and is on his way to becoming one of the elite quarterbacks in the league.