Vince Young is one of the most misunderstood players in football. To be sure, part of the blame rests squarely on his own shoulders, but he's also the victim of a lot of lazy misperception. A textbook example came in the run up to this year's NFL Draft, when NFL color commentator Randy Cross vomited to an interviewer that Cam Newton would prove not to be a colossal bust like Vince Young and Ryan Leaf.
Vince Young is many things, some good some bad, but a colossal bust like Ryan Leaf? Really? Someone pays you to talk about football?
To begin with, Vince Young has been in the NFL for five seasons. In his rookie year, he played so well he made the Pro Bowl. He battled injuries his sophomore season but led the Titans to the playoffs. He lost his entire third season, and the first six games of his fourth, after he couldn't get along with Jeff Fisher, his head coach who, you know, didn't want to draft him, didn't know how to use him, and tried to undermine him at every turn. When he finally got back on the field, he turned the Titans around immediately and almost led them to the playoffs. Oh, right: he made his second Pro Bowl, too. Last year, he was well on his way to his best season yet when he got hurt, and then lost the rest of the year when, yup you guessed it, Fisher screwed with him once again.
Vince Young has been troubled, but the perception that he's been a bad quarterback is just incorrect. He's been good, and getting better, and the single biggest impediment to his career has been the criminally incompetent Jeff Fisher. And this isnt' just the rant of a fanboy. Not only was Vince leading the NFL in passer rating last season when he got hurt, but he was dominating with the deep ball like no other quarterback in the league.
Pro Football Focus looked at the percentage of a QB's passes thrown 20 or more yards down the field, and Vince Young led the way as the most bomb-happy quarterback in the league, throwing 35 of his 156 attempts downfield (22.5%).
Okay, but did he complete them? Why yes, he did. Indeed, Vince Young also completed a higher percentage of his deep throws than any other QB in the league, nailing 16 of 35, for a league-best 45.7 completion percentage.
Here's to hoping that Vince lands in a situation where he can actually thrive. Because he's been ready to for a while now.
Someone just needs to let him.