Is Tennessee Titans' Vince Young a Top 10 Quarterback?
With the 2010 NFL season bearing down upon us, it's time that I get flowing on topics on the gridiron.
First involves one of my favorite players, Vince Young of the Tennessee Titans. I heard a talking head on ESPN say that Young has reclaimed his career after basically falling over the edge two years ago. Say what? That little episode was a blip on a young player's career. Being benched has happened to many great QBs; look at Terry Bradshaw.
He is not a traditional dropback passer, though he is 6'5" and 230 lbs. and has a rather strong arm.
He is known as a scrambler, though he is not blazing fast or especially powerful, but he does not ever seem to take a big hit on the runs.
Critics seem to delight in noting what he cannot do (though I would say what he does not do), yet they are not equally vociferous of what he does do.
He has, in his four years, won Rookie of the Year, been a two-time Pro Bowler, led the Titans to the playoffs in his second year (the only QB of the 2006 class to do so as a starter), been benched, and went 8-2 after being a backup for the first six games in 2009 (whereas starting him sooner may have allowed the Titans to get into the playoffs).
So the question I pose to B/R readers is this: Is Vince Young a Top 10 Quarterback in the NFL? Let's examine this, shall we?
Vince Young Does Not Have a Perfect Throwing Motion
Who needs a perfect throwing motion when you have linemen barreling down upon you? You need to get that ball out of there, not look pretty taking a sack. I watched Joey Harrington in Detroit, people. He looked nice and had a perfect throwing motion. Too bad he couldn't do anything with it.
A perfect throwing motion is not needed at the NFL level, as much as an effective motion is. With his 6'5" height, Young's passes are not often batted down at the line, and he has the arm strength to get the ball where it needs to go often enough to win, so that works for me.
By the way, Drew Brees, due to his height, does not have such a perfect throwing motion, either. His Super Bowl win this past February was not negated because of his imperfect motion.
Jim Plunkett's two Super Bowl wins were not negated because of his "wounded duck" throwing style. He got the ball to Cliff Branch, Kenny King, etc., just fine.
Ask Joe Theismann if he'd rather have a "perfect" throwing motion, or his two Super Bowl appearances and one SB win.
I will take Young's throwing motion and his wins for $1000, Alex.
Vince Young Does Not Throw for 300 Yards a Game
Let me introduce you to the NFL's most dangerous weapon and fastest man, Mr. Chris Johnson.
He just broke 2,000 yards on the ground last year. He has 4.2 speed and is a threat to score literally anytime he touches the ball.
He was part of the Smash and Dash running back combination with LenDale White the year before.
He is a part of the NFL's top running team.
They practice and preach ball-control by running the ball, not throwing it.
Jeff Fisher came from the Eagles coaching staff and played for Mike Ditka's Bears, and neither team believed in just chucking the pigskin.
Ball control is the mantra in Nashville. QBs do not throw the ball a ton. Nor do they average a high amount of yards through the air. "VY" may never top 250 yds/game playing for Jeff Fisher.
Air Coryell, this ain't, folks.
Vince Young is Not a Traditional QB
I will agree that Young is not a traditional dropback QB.
He is no Jeff George, a traditional dropback QB that neither won over his own teams, fans, or games.
He is no Joey Harrington, a traditional dropback QB that could not stay with one team for any longer than a cup of coffee after he was let go by the pitiful Detroit Lions.
He is no David Carr, a traditional dropback QB that became a battered player in Houston. A QB sacked so frequently he started to look like a veteran boxer who took way too many shots to the head.
He is no Byron Leftwich, a traditional dropback QB that has bounced around the NFL because he cannot get rid of the ball and gets hit too often.
I don't need a traditional dropback QB. I need a QB who can move the ball, move the chains, and keep my defense on the sidelines and the opposing defense on the field.
By the way, people, that's a Pro-Bowl uniform, which Young has worn twice in his three full years that he has played. Not bad for a decidely untraditional QB.
Vince Young Runs Too Much
Let's see if I have this right.
I can take a 6-5, 230 lb QB that can run for a first down on third and short, or I can take a QB that is more apt to throw a pick (ahem, Jay Cutler) or fail to hit his open man (ahem, Matt Leinart).
I think I will take option number one.
Young's ability to run has been unfairly criticized. I say that because the name of the game is to keep the chains moving, keep getting first downs, keep eating up yards and clock in a ball-control offense.
If Young can continue to run on broken plays, while maintaining the threat of the pass, I say more power to him.
Steve Young was a running threat who utilized that to become a Super Bowl winning QB. Not bad for a runner people used to criticize as well.
With the defenses of the NFL getting to be faster seemingly each year, the days of the Marino-like statues behind center is getting further in the rear-view. There are not many QBs that can gun it like Dan Marino could; so I will go with someone who can move around, get out of the pocket when he has to. A season may depend on it.
Vince Young IS a Winner!
Football, unlike some other pro sports, has the ultimate pass/fail course.
The bottom line in football, unlike some other sports, is solely winning and losing. There are not a multitude of games to make a statement or establish one's program. It is totally based on winning or losing the 16 games each team has each season.
In this area, there is no dispute, Vince Young is a winner. Period.
He has done it at Texas, leading the team to the National Championship despite a simplistic offense that did not develop him as a QB. He has done it with the Titans, despite going through a few different running backs and receiver combinations.
He's done it as a rookie with a few options per play. He's done it as a second year player with an expanding playbook, leading the Titans to the playoffs. He did it last year after the puzzling, almost stubborn to a fault Jeff Fisher seemingly refused to play him, with the season hanging in the balance.
Vince Young wins games. That's who he is. That's what he does.
When one starts looking for a QB to head up a franchise, everyone wants to find a Peyton Manning. You know, overall top draft pick, looks the part, throws the part, and thinks the part. A classic QB.
Others grab second rounders like Drew Brees, who puts up great numbers and is a leader, par excellence. QBs like this are not easy to find, especially after tearing up his rotator cuff, shoulder, etc. The teams of the league were not banging on the door of the barely 6-ft tall QB in 2006, except the Dolphins and the Saints.
Everyone touts the virtue of Tom Brady, except on draft day 2000, when he was a sixth round pick, meaning all of the NFL had (in theory) at least five shots to take him, but didn't. Great call, Bill Belichick.
People complain that Ben Roethelisberger holds the ball for too long, takes too many sacks and is not fast enough to avoid taking too many big hits. All he has done is win two Super Bowls, one more than Manning and one less than Brady.
In short, there are many types of QBs that lead NFL teams. There are just as many different types of ways to lead those teams and win games for those teams. Vince Young's way is a little unorthodox and is not classic, but it works. It has worked for almost 10 years at the two highest levels of football (NCAA and NFL), so I can trust it. I believe in VY, and think he is a Top 10 QB. What say you?
I can go, in no particular order: Manning, Brees, Brady, Big Ben, Aaaron Rodgers, Donovan McNabb, (depending on the day/game) Tony Romo, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, and Young. That puts him in my Top 10.
I mean, hey, I will give you Jay Cutler. I will take VY.