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Vince and the Future

I had written this several weeks ago and was waiting for the appropriate time. Seems like it is now. I do this as a big thunderstorm is bearing down on me, including a tornado watch. Sorta appropriate, considering everything.

When Vincent Young left the University of Texas I felt that he had made an error in judgment, that his style of play had reached a pinnacle which would and probably could not be repeated in the National Football League.

After three years in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans, his career has seen early highs and recent surprising lows but certainly, in my mind, he is far from the peak he achieved with the Longhorns in 2005. I realize that the Titans are within reach of winning a Super Bowl and within that infinity of possible moments, Vince might win a ring. He also might be on the bench when that occurs, but I doubt that unless it is injury-related.

Onward through the fog!

If Tennessee should go to the Super Bowl, it will be because of their defense and probably not the offense. As much as I have always liked Head Coach Jeff Fisher, he is tilted toward defense and has always been. My feeling has been that Titan offenses have always been caretakers, not the aggressive machine many teams develop. Think much closer to the ’85 Bears but not as definitive. Their offenses have been far from, say, St. Louis, New England, Indianapolis, or even Dallas when they were loaded. The Titans were effective and efficient at their best, yes, but not overpowering - and ultimately a yard short.

That’s what I think VY has fallen into: a caretaker offense with a team that doesn’t - and probably won’t - surround him with the means for him to play at the level he can achieve.

So, what are those means? A strong offensive line is a given for any dynamic offense. Tennessee is getting closer, but not superb. You don’t have the OL, your offense will struggle, whether passing, running or hybrid. Next are the accompanying threats - and at Houston Madison and at UT Vince had speed surrounding him, all receiver and backs (except the FB) had speed to burn and overmatched most every opponent defense.

It is that speed and the potential threats that will open the playbook for Vince - if the offensive attack is aggressive. That is really the difference I see with Tennessee and Vince and what occurred at Madison and at UT…Vince can’t operate in aggressive mode because the offense just isn’t aggressive.

Tennessee has Chris Johnson - that’s 4.24 speed - and with newly acquired Nate Washington from Pittsburgh and Kenny Britt, a rookie from Rutgers whose three-year’s worth of receptions established new receiving records, they have some receiver speed. I sincerely doubt within the NFL that the Titans have killer speed or even above average receiver speed. They’re faster than they were, but that’s not saying a hell of a lot, especially with a rookie in the mix. Do they have enough to counter what you find in pro defenses? Can Tennessee deploy enough speed to offset the increased ability in the pros to contain, rush and blitz the quarterback? If not, VY is reduced to just taking care of the play-to-play business, and his team is no longer making him the threat he could be. Sure, he could make great plays and runs, but the situations would be more when the offense breaks down than by grand design. He is always a threat - the question is, does Vince have such threats around him to force the defense to cover the whole field?

I really think at this point Fisher - and Bud Adams - made a $58 million mistake. They needed a talented quarterback but they didn’t need someone of the caliber of Vince Young. Vince needed - and needs - a team to build the type of offense which allows him to assert his innate field instincts and aggressive manner of attack. Time is running out on that proposition but still is a possibility as long as VY remains physically gifted. Old quarterbacks all become caretaker QBs if they stick around. If Vince is not the starting QB, it can be stated that damn few teams keep a quarterback pulling $11+ mil a year sitting on the bench for long, especially one in the next to the last year of his five-year contract. He plays or he gets traded. It’s situational.

I’m even wondering if some team is out there thinking exactly that. The calculation could go like this: Tennessee will play Vince a lot in the pre-season - they need to see things for their own means, but they also need Vince to appear as valuable as his contract. Ideally, Tennessee should want to get more than his value but the closer they get to trading deadline, the tighter the deals will become. If VY doesn’t look good, they could be staring at a big problem financially. If he looks great, they still have the decision to start him or trade him. It should also go without saying, most teams have some latitude to design those pre-season games to suit their own ends.

Some might take that last option an admission of failure by Tennessee. Or that they gambled and couldn’t fulfill the gamble - they couldn’t or wouldn’t make the changes to really cash in on the bet.

I don’t know Vince Young nor do I know his mind, so I have no real idea what transpired last year. I know what the news and web stories said, but there is always more - and less, when the hype is stripped away.

I’m convinced that if you let Vince play the kind of football that is keyed to his capabilities, all problems go away. And if you don’t, few problems are resolved. I don’t worry about Vince being Vince.


You can also chew on these things as the summer begins:

* What team(s) would you think likely that VY might go to?

* What team(s) really suit him, if any?

* What teams actually need a Vince Young? (VY and AP?)

* What QBs would you trade straight up for him (Romo for VY, for instance)?

* Why you think he might start and be the exact answer for Tennessee.