Commentary: Young debate continues after loss to Browns

Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 10:26pm

Will the real Vince Young please stand up?

Perhaps no player in the 11 seasons the franchise has been in Tennessee has been debated and argued about more on talk radio, Internet message boards and around water coolers than Young.

And a game like the one in Saturday’s 23-17 Titans loss at Cleveland showed exactly why there is so much debate about Young and his ability or not to lead the Titans offense.

Call it a vicious cycle, a catch-22, a fatal flaw or whatever you will. But all you have to do to get a synopsis of Young’s career as a Titan is watch what unfolded against the Browns Saturday evening.

Young entered the game with 1:51 to play in the first half and brilliantly guided the Titans downfield in the two-minute offense, making good reads and good throws in his first real opportunity to operate the first-string offense this preseason.

But then, just as it looked like Young was about to cash in with 13 seconds left in the half with first-and-goal at the 4, came the type of mistake that once again brings out the naysayers and begins the debate about his future as an NFL quarterback all over again.

That’s because Young dropped back to pass, could not find anyone open and decided to run – with no timeouts remaining. And when he not only failed to get into the end zone, but fumbled the ball away, all the good of the outstanding two-minute drive went for naught, and the Titans went to the locker room with no points to show for it.

It got worse for Young in the third quarter before it got better, as, backed up near his own end zone, he threw an ill-advised pass off his back foot in the flat, making it easy pickings for Browns linebacker Alex Hall, who returned it 11 yards for a touchdown and a 20-7 Browns lead.

But just as soon as you’re ready to wonder if Young will figure it out in time, he confounds again, leading a fine drive, sparked by his own 23-yard scramble on the first play and capped with a nice 15-yard touchdown throw to Matt Mulligan to again swing the pendulum back the other way enough to spark the debate again.

The stats sheet alone says Young had a stellar game Saturday night – 17 of 24 for 174 yards, with one touchdown and one interception, plus 20 yards rushing on two runs.

If only it was that easy to measure the long-term fortunes of Vince Young.

But it’s never that simple. Those seeking to spin Young’s progress in a positive light will point to his resilience after the pick-six touchdown and his moxie in moving the team up and down the field. They will say it is a sure sign of the maturity that eluded him after an interception in last year’s season opener began his unraveling. Point taken.

And those on the other end of the VY debate will surely point out that a quarterback going into his fourth NFL season should be making better decisions than the ones to run with no timeouts or to throw ill-advisedly off his back foot into harm’s way. Again point taken.

And thus the debate begins anew.


4 Comments on this post:

By: cmarcus45 on 8/29/09 at 9:41

Vince Young is consistently inconsistent. The touchdown came against backups. Terrible decision-making was, once again, his shortcoming. Lack of intelligence and poor decision-making cannot overcome all the athleticisim (which he certainly has) in the world. That's why his flashes of brilliance (which he certainly has) will always be outshone by his debacles. We need to either cut him or trade him, and wish him luck. What quarterback of the future will be coming out in this year's draft??

By: nature on 8/30/09 at 8:56

Vince Young should go to another team to start over. He will always be a drain to our team. He is spoiled and acted like a brat once and the fans will always be slow to give him any slack. Bud Adams should stay out of the draft selection for the Titans. He just had to bring this guy in from Texas after graduation. I know alot of people saw that this kid was spoiled and did not like him from the get-go. Young has brought this on himself. He costs us a pretty penny too.
Thank goodness for Kerry Collins. He has nothing to lose by taking a chance to show his game and leadership.
Does anybody remember the New Orleans 'Aints of the past. I do. I lived in N. O. as a kid and watched ole' Archie Manning and his knees take a beating for his team. He stayed in the game with good grace and was an example of good sportsmanship. He never threw a hissyfit on the field. The team, they were booed and people went to games with paper bags over their heads! Something Mr. Young could learn. I will be a good fan by giving him a second chance to lead another team. See ya'.

By: jps13pat on 8/30/09 at 10:15

I'm falling for it and am going to defend Vince again. You guys are over reacting. We saw the best and worst of Vince Young against the Browns, but to discount his touchdown because he was playing against "second stringers" is unfair. Remember, he was being protected by, and was throwing to, second stringers. He's only in his fourth year and is still a young man and a young quarterback. He needs to cut down on his mistakes, but his upside much much better than anyone you could pick up in free agency or in the upcoming NFL draft. Vince has got all the ability in the world. It's Fisher's and 'Dinger's job to coach that talent up to an acceptable level.

Besides, the only thing that matters is wins and losses. Go look up Vince's record. It's good. The kid wins ball games. It may not always be pretty, but when was the last time the Titans won pretty???

I say Vince stays.

By: Dragon on 9/1/09 at 11:10

"He's only in his fourth year and is still a young man and a young quarterback."

He still has a ways to go before he is ready to be the starting quarterback. Collins has proven himself worthy of that position and I hope it is recognized.