Boclair: Young's performance would create a stir elsewhere

Sunday, August 16, 2009 at 12:05am

If this were any other place in the football-playing universe the din would be deafening. Any place else, and the chorus would be raised by the majority – an overwhelming majority.

The call would be clear and concise: ‘Play the other guy.’

This is nowhere else, though. This is here, and here is the one place where the backup quarterback is not the most popular player on the team.

So on a night when the starter – a 36-year-old with his fifth different franchise – went 4-for-9 for 37 yards with two interceptions no one let loose with a full-throated call for change. Never mind that said starter even failed to produce a touchdown – or even a first down – when a fumble recovery gave the ball to him and the offense a mere 22 yards out on one first-quarter possession.

Instead, everyone simply swallowed hard, hoped for the best and expected the worst when the second-stringer – a 26-year-old who not long ago was one of the most dazzling college football players ever – entered a meaningless contest.

As it turned out, Vince Young did not do too badly at all in the Tennessee Titans’ 27-20 preseason victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at LP Field on Saturday.

In fact, he was pretty good.

There was the small matter of the improvisational toss from his knees to running back LenDale White after a bad shotgun snap – Young’s preferred formation – a play that, with the help of a penalty, turned into an 11-yard loss and loss-of-down.

Then again, there also was the 38-yard completion to rookie Kenny Britt on his second pass of the night. He found Britt again for a 37-yard touchdown pass early in the second half on a play when the threat of a Young scramble caused an inexperienced defensive back to abandon his coverage responsibilities.

In roughly one full quarter of work, Young completed nine of 14 passes for 131 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. His passer rating was 118.5, more than seven times that of Kerry Collins (16.7).

Typically, it’s the promise of what he can do that is at the core of the backup’s appeal. Preseason flashes make so many think that anything is possible in October, November and December – if the guy could just get a chance.

There’s nothing typical about this place or this situation.

Fans have seen Young struggle in a myriad ways – both on the field and off. Thus, one good August night against the Buccaneers is not near enough to convince anyone that his time is now.

They cheered him, yes. But was anyone really willing to say that he should be the starter Sept. 10 at Pittsburgh?

David Boclair is a senior sports writer for The City Paper and

12 Comments on this post:

By: jps13pat on 8/16/09 at 1:49

This is one of the most ridiculous articles I've read in a serious paper in a long time. Why would we be clamoring for our backup quarterback to overtake Kerry Collins? He took us to the best record in the NFL last year!? You guys know that I'm the biggest Vince Young apologist out there, but even I will admit that a qb that leads his team to a 13 win season is the starter. Period. Vince could of thrown for 900 yards and 18 touchdowns and it still wouldn't have mattered because Kerry won 13 games last season. I don't think Titans fans are weird for realizing that, and I do think that fans in other cities would react in the same manner that we are to this situation.

By: c_robinson on 8/16/09 at 7:46

This is an excellent article because David Boclair has broken the collins spell that has you highly confused as to what a good QB is. This article is chocked full of truth and an enlightened view of fandom. Kerry Collins is hot garbage, his career numbers, his journeyman career all point to this. Ryan Leaf could have came out of retirement and won 9 games for us last year. Did you happen to see the patriots at any point last season. There is a whole lot more to the success of your franchise than the QB.
If your a young apologist stop. You have nothing to apologize for, the man can play football.It takes years to transition from the college game to the pro's and VY has flashed greatness in the early part of his career. This is the year he really has to impress and he is, he's playing circles around collins who is looking like the 36 yr old journeyman he is. Aren't any of you worried about collins terrible play through 2 preseason games? I understand that VY's 2 good performances aren't going to win you back but how long can you keep telling yourself that collins is the answer. He can barely complete a pass and when he does it's to the other team. This is the preseason. He can't execute against guys trying to make a team much less proven veterans.
It's time for all the collins lovers to eat crow, as he does what he's always done and becomes a cancer and his erratic shoddy play starts costing us games. By wk 4 VY will be back under center.

By: cmarcus45 on 8/16/09 at 8:33

c_robinson, what are you talking about? Two bad games for Collins? You must not have watched last week. Collins did fine -- better than Young. Collins can't execute against guys trying to make the team much less proven veterans? In case you didn't notice, Collins is on the first team, which plays the first team defense in the preseason. The first team consists of the proven veterans. The guys trying to make the team begin coming in with the second team, which, in case you didn't notice, is where Vince comes in. I am glad he did well last night, but it was one time against the second- and third-string defenses. It takes years to transition from the college game to the pros? Not necessarily. Recent examples: Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger. The problem comes when you have a quarterback who has a college-style offense designed for him and others like him, and who lacks the intelligence and/or work ethic to transition to a pro offense. Recent examples: Matt Leinert and Vince Young. It is ironic that you mention Ryan Leaf because Young would be out of the league, too, based on his passing game. His legs are his only saving grace.

As for this article, its whole premise is faulty. For one to say that people "elsewhere" would call for the backup necessarily requires the assumption that the "elsewhere" crowd would not have been through what Titans fans have experienced with Young. Looking at any situation -- not just this one -- without the historical context would likely lead to a different conclusion. If the "elsewhere" crowd experienced both the past events and last night's game, I think it is reasonable to assume their reaction would be the same as ours. Thus, unless one removes all the important backdrop information, Young's performance would not create a stir elsewhere. If one removes all the important backdrop information, then it is a meaningless query.

By: FAMUAce on 8/16/09 at 11:01

Cmarcus, I guess winning Rookie of the Year means nothing. I guess taking an 0-5 team (with the league's worst defense) on your back and willing them to a game away from the playoffs is nothing. I also guess taking your team to the playoffs with the WORST return game in the league (equals horrific field position) and crappy receivers who dropped the most passes in the league is nothing. Clearly, Matt Ryan did well last year, but he also had the benefit of Michael Turner and his 1,699 yards. I won't even start on Joe Flacco, who really didn't have a standout season, but benefitted from our fumbles in the playoffs. I can tell that you have a problem with VY, but please don't ignore the facts and make baseless statements to prove a floundering point.

By: jps13pat on 8/17/09 at 1:42

VY will be our future starting qb. He'll win 3 Superbowls and become a Hall of Famer. But he's still going to sit behind Kerry Collins to start this season, and rightfully so. Kerry was the QB of a team that won 13 games last year in the NFL, and that settles that. If Kerry starts costing us games that matter then we can make a case for Vince, but until then it's Kerry's job.

In other news, I can't believe that this joke of an article made "Top Stories." Mr. Boclair, you've got better in you I know it. This is amateur stuff more deserving of a spot on some local beat blog.

By: blktenn on 8/17/09 at 6:33

kERRY days are numbered and VY will take over. Again people in TENN. Hate the though of another black QB. I said it YES I did.

By: frank brown on 8/17/09 at 6:51

Ol Bud, is saying all the right things to get a better trade for Vince Young. Ol Bud knows that Young does not have the mental capacity to lead the team but he thinks he can pawn him off on someone who does not know that Vince is an athlete not a scholar.

By: house_of_pain on 8/17/09 at 7:00

Jeez, blktenn, get over it. What about McNair? Did everyone hate him, too? Please.

By: cmarcus45 on 8/17/09 at 7:28

FAMUAce -- Young did well his first year and won rookie of the year mostly based on his running and scrambling abilities. Two things are worth noting. First, it does not take an MVP-type season to win ROY. Second, once defenses figured out that all they have to do is contain Vince's ground game and that he lacks the passing ability and/or intelligence to adjust, everything has gone downhill from there. You're right; I do have a problem with Vince Young. In fact, I have more than one. He cannot consistently pass a football in the NFL with accuracy, and he quit on his team.

As for blktenn, you are just an idiot. Like house_of_pain said, everyone loved (and still loves) McNair. I guess you would argue that Tennesseans don't want a black running back or linebacker either. Makes me wonder why I see so many white people wearing Johnson, White, Bulluck and even Young jerseys at games, not to mention McNair and George. Get real and get over the paranoia.

By: TITAN1 on 8/17/09 at 7:57

Shaking head at frank's usual nonsense. HOP, blktenn spews his racism just to get a response out of someone. It took me a few responses to realize that. It would not surprise me if he is white. As for VY, good game against the bucs, a lot of improvement. I look forward to seeing him to continue to progress and being our future QB.

By: gratefulted on 8/17/09 at 2:04

Fact: VY panicked with the "lateral" to White. Yes. He panicked. He is not now, and never will be a successful NFL quarterback. Defenses have figured out how to contain his running ability, and his passing motion makes him the equivalent of a 5'10 QB.
Mr. Adams knows this and will say whatever needs to be said to gain a financial advantage for the Titans in order to salvage something from this wasted draft pick.

Blktenn. The 60's are long gone. I didn't see one slaveowner in the crowd Saturday night.

By: TITAN1 on 8/17/09 at 3:09

Well, I don't have a crystal ball like gratefulted obviously does, so I'll just have to go on the athletic ability that VY has shown. He also read the field very well and checked down his receivers Saturday night and his decision making was very good. If he continues to improve, he can be an elite QB in the NFL. Mr Adams does not have to sugarcoat anything, especially at his age, with his money, oh yeah, and the owner of the team. One more thing, show me one, just one QB that does not panic from time to time. All of them do, Brady, Manning, Farve, etc. Keep up the good work, VY!