Vince Young Can't Be Considered a Bust Yet
The title says it all. Vince Young is not a bust.
The "yet" doesn't exactly mean he will be one in time; because I don't believe he will. Everyone is giving him the label of bust, when he hasn't really even been able to play in his third season. And exactly how many seasons do we give most NFL players before meriting the "bust" title?
And since Young has played a season and a half, can you really call him a bust? He's played 31 games, and started fewer than that. The arguments everyone makes are easily counteracted; I'll cover the main ones in the next few headings.
He Throws Too Many Interceptions
Young throws interceptions; yes, he does. Does anyone want to guess how many games Young had with three interceptions in his first two seasons? Two. How many did Peyton Manning have? Three. Brett Favre? Six. (That's not counting the first season in Atlanta). Drew Brees? Three. (Not counting his first season, when he never played). How have these three gentlemen been doing in their careers? Just fine, from what I understand.
In Young's first two seasons, he's thrown 30 interceptions. Brees threw 32. Peyton Manning threw 43. His interception numbers are up there with other elite quarterbacks early in their careers. Young can still succeed.
He Doesn't Throw Enough Touchdowns
Tell me: Honestly, do you need a great passing offense when you've had a great runner like LenDale White in your backfield, as well as Chris Brown and Travis Henry (we're still talking Young's first two seasons)? He doesn't throw 25 touchdowns because he doesn't need to. His role in the Titans' offense doesn't require him to throw in the top 10 in the league in touchdowns. Look at what Kerry Collins is doing. In six starts, Collins has thrown three touchdowns.
At that rate, he will throw seven by the end of the year.
Young threw nine the year before that, and people believed it was the end of the world.
He Doesn't Run Enough
This is always a good point, but there is probably a reason behind it too. Norm Chow, his offensive coordinator his first two years, is used to developing drop-back passers like Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Steve Young, and Philip Rivers. Since he was so used to these types of players, how was he going to understand Young? His firing was probably for the reason that he couldn't make Young run and pass effectively.
The offensive line is definitely strong enough to allow Young to run, but he also always seemed to be committed to learning to throw the ball, rather than run with it. If he gets back to action in a year or two, I think we can definitely see a better mix.
There are a few other things I haven't mentioned so far. First of all, he doesn't exactly have a Reggie Wayne or Larry Fitzgerald or Randy Moss he can throw to.
He has Justin Gage.
Most of you probably didn't know who Gage was unless you were a Titans fan coming into the season. Gage is a good receiver, but is, at best, a low-end No. 2.
Bo Scaife has emerged into a pass-catching tight end, but that seemed to happen after Young got hurt. Alge Crumpler has yet to look comfortable in the offense, and Justin McCariens drops passes. Brandon Jones is easily the team's third-best pass catcher, but he gets hurt often. Lavelle Hawkins is just a rookie. Paul Williams and Chris Davis are not developed to a point where they can be productive.
Second, the Titans have succeeded without means of the forward pass. The defense rips up some offense, and the running game marches down the field.
Third, look at Young's completion percentage from Year One to Year Two. He completed 51 percent of his passes in 2006, but 62 percent were completed in 2007. This is a huge gain, especially considering Young's receivers in 2006 were better than the ones he had last season.
And finally, the most important stat of them all: Vince Young wins football games. That doesn't mean Kerry Collins doesn't; heck, he's undefeated this year. But Young is a big-play threat when his team needs six.
So please, give Young one more season before you completely rip him to shreds. He is a developing quarterback, and with Mike Heimerdinger, an offensive coordinator who has worked with John Elway, the future is looking bright for the Titan.
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