Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Our Thoughts on the Vince Young Situation

Clement: I am a Vince Young fan and Titan apologist. With that being said, the lack of progression - athletically and physically - for Young has begun to worry me. Personally, I felt Norm Chow was the wrong quarterback mentor/offensive coordinator for Young as a rookie and I felt transitioning into Mike Heimerdinger wouldn't be easy. Nevertheless, Young has proven his decision making abilities are deeply rooted in his lack of confidence. I won't pretend to forget he has had the WORST receiving corps in the league each and every season he's been the starter. With all that being said, I'm still going to apologize. His Titan team rallies behind the guy, he was part of a 10-6 playoff team last year (who played San Diego tough on the road in the playoffs), and is still uber-talented. I'm not buying manic depression or suicidal links (I didn't with TO either). I hate how the media plays psychologist or pity party in situations like this. Report the story and don't try to pretend you pity the guy. Nor should anyone have the right to villainize Young for having a lot of money and not a total grasp on his self-confidence. Can Young rebound? Of course. Will he? Only time will tell on that one. Paging Jim Brown: Call this young man up and ask him the tough questions Jeff Fisher isn't allowed to ask (as his coach) and the media never has the right to ask.

Armin: I remember the run as if it were yesterday. Yes, that one. The TD run that Vince ran into the end zone to seal the National Championship for the University of Texas. At that point, being the draft guru that I pretend to be, I asked myself, "Does that single play/game vault him to the top of the draft?" My opinion at the time, and still today, is that it shouldn't have, but it did. Young was a great player in college, but I never considered him a great passer. The QB position in the NFL is actually very simple. Regardless of your style, you still have to be a good passer. This is why I've stuck to my guns when I've said that Michael Vick and Vince Young will never be on Randall Cunningham's level. Cunningham was actually a good passer. This past weekend, the Titans fans gave it to Young for being a sub-par passer, and Young broke under the pressure. I am not going to comment on the whole police situation. I think people blew it out of proportion in his family, in the organization, in the media and among NFL fans. We all get down. We also don't know the whole story. The part that bothers me was that he wanted to be taken out of the game. Heck, even Kordell Stewart broke into tears on the sidelines when he was taken out, no matter how bad he was throwing the ball. Does Young lack heart? Does he lack self-confidence? Either way, the message is clear. Vince Young, himself, doesn't think he has what it takes. A change of scenery is probably not far off.

Sum: I'm not the foremost expert on college football, nor do I claim to be. My fandom in the college game is pretty much limited to the last 2-3 weeks of the regular season + the bowl games, with the rest of the season dedicated to blind love of Notre Dame (and Charlie Weis's eating of cheeseburgers). That said, I was never sold on Vince Young as a top NFL prospect. Yes, he outshined Reggie Bush in the Rose Bowl, and yes he was a deserving finalist in Heisman balloting. But, as Armin discusses in solid detail, Young never established himself as a great passer. But Armin left two QBs out of his discussion, and they must be mentioned. Donovan McNabb and John Elway. Both QBs are/were talented scramblers and began their NFL careers running quite regularly. But Elway never overcame that Super Bowl slump until he became an effective pocket passer, and McNabb soon realized that he needed to concentrate on his throwing prowess in addition to having fleet feet. Vince Young, as PFT points out, throws like Uncle Rico and would prefer to run. That style of QB works wonders in college and becomes mediocre in the pro game. Such a dropoff in success can truly damage the psyche of a formerly prosperous athlete, such as Young. The top pro athletes manage to overcome such depression ... unfortunately, I don't see Young as a top pro athlete.

Paymon: What made Vince Young great at the collegiate level was his mentality - easy-going with a never say die attitude - and not his passing skills. Though his confidence wavered in college, especially in games versus Oklahoma prior to his final season at Texas, his team always rallied around him and followed his lead en route to an amazing amount of success culminating in a thrilling National Championship. When he took over an 0-3 team which was well on its way to securing a top 5 draft pick, it was that same mentality that led the Titans to a 8-8 mark in 2006 and subsequently to 10 wins plus a playoff appearance in 2007. Knowing this, I find it disconcerting to see the fragility of a QB who overcame the unduly criticism received by pundits and fans alike in his first two seasons. Depression is a serious issue and permeates all sectors of one's life, regardless of how well an individual attempts to compartmentalize it. I just hope that Vince Young figures out for himself - and not for the Titans organization or for fans - what it is that he wants and needs to do in life. Lastly, Young should not feel burdened by the guilt of having a big contract that he feels he cannot fulfill (or the boos that come as a result), because that is the NFL's fault for having a flawed system that gives exorbitant amounts of money to individuals who have never played a down in the league.


Armin said...

No doubt that Vince was a leader (emphasis on "WAS"). But, this new turn of events (on the field) kind of negates past success. He needs to get his head on straight, and live by his comments in response to McNabb's "Black QB" comments.

Like Vince said, (not in these exact words) "If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen." Then again, maybe he knew that when he was contemplating retirement.

Clement said...

It's easy to play psychologist, even when a guy's mom says he isn't into football.

Let's give Vince Young time to recover from this injury and see if he can join the team again.

This isn't Demetrius Underwood yet, and we all don't want that.

I am an apologist, but also said the same stuff with TO (completely different situation, I know)...and now he's fine.

So I'm not giving up on Young. I doubt he is on himself yet either.

Anonymous said...

Psychology stuff aside, what's the big deal if he's done with football? The guy is just not a very good quarterback. When he was drafted, I called it that he would be a monumental bust. He just doesn't have the brain for the position. Makes WAY too many mistakes and it doesn't seem he has improved in the 3 years he's been in the league. The Titans have won in spite of Vince Young, not because of him. Time for them to move on. I'm sure by now Young has lost the locker room as it is.