It turns out most Tennessee Titans fans have been looking in the wrong places for signs of progress.
They watched Vince Young in the pocket and hoped to see him read defenses quickly and efficiently. They focused their gaze when he had the ball in hand and eagerly awaited a classically delivered pass. Heads turned his way when he was on the sideline or the practice field as so many amateur psychologists analyzed his leadership ability.
Finally, there has been a significant — and obvious — sign of development in Young’s attitude and professionalism, and it came in none of the areas most people figured.
Earlier this month, the mercurial quarterback changed agents. He opted to have Tom Condon take on his business interests.
Condon is one of the top NFL representatives. He has a lot of experience on behalf of superstar quarterbacks, including Peyton and Eli Manning, and he knows how to get top dollar for his clients. He replaces Major Adams, who is a friend of Young’s family and a confidant.
In fairness, Adams negotiated a lucrative contract back in 2006, when the Titans used the third overall pick to select the quarterback who months later was named the league’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.
That deal is set to expire after another two seasons, and VY undoubtedly will be looking for another, probably even a richer one.
The fact that he now works with Condon shows that he understands the NFL is a “professional” football league — in other words, it’s a business and needs to be treated as such. It’s not college, where all he had to do was don the colors of the state school to be celebrated as a hero.
Young said he talked to others about Condon before he made the move. That indicated he was willing to put in the time and effort to get it right. Even more importantly, he obviously listened to what others had to say. Throughout the first four years of his career, it seemed the only ones he heard were those who said yes to him.
None of this has anything to do with how he throws the ball or what he has learned about the complexities of NFL defenses. It does not mean he is going to step on the field Sept. 12 for the season opener against the Oakland Raiders and dazzle everyone with a performance reminiscent of Johnny Unitas, Joe Montana or Dan Marino.
In those areas he remains a work in progress. At least now there is reason to believe that he is working in earnest and, therefore, actually progressing.
That’s because this move — to repeat — is a significant sign of progress.
Young turned 27 last week, and it seems he finally understands that he does not have all the answers. He looks like a person who has decided to take stock of himself and his situation, and tried to figure out what could — and should — change.
Change is not always necessarily for the better, but Young’s willingness is the best thing he’s done since he came to the Titans.