VY is still Bud Adams’ guy, especially after a solid effort on Sunday that gave the struggling Tennessee Titans their first victory of the season after an 0-6 start.
Young was plenty solid, playing efficient football and managing the game with few errors, especially given his rustiness from going 14 months between starts.
Young completed 15 of 18 passes for 125 yards and threaded the needle on a 6-yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington, marking Tennessee’s first touchdown in three weeks as part of Sunday’s 30-13 victory over the Jaguars.
"He managed the game well. ... He made some great throws," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.
Adams, who has been one of Young’s biggest supporters since the Titans drafted him in 2006, said he believed the quarterback had learned from his well documented struggles that cost him his starting job after the season opener in 2008.
“I’ll tell you, he looked all right out there. I think he’s coming around a lot,” said Adams, who urged Coach Jeff Fisher to make the change from Kerry Collins to Young this week. “I think there’s just things that happened with him early in his career in the NFL that kept him occupied and looking at other areas and not concentrating on football. I think he realized that he needed to look at it hard, harder than he was before, and he has shown that.”
Young admits he has learned some things during his time on the bench and he imagined how he would handle it when his next turn came.
“The year off has helped me a whole lot,” Young said. “I put myself in different scenarios at night time. If I go out there and make a bad play, and they start to boo me, and anything that is going to happen, put it in the past and don’t worry about that.
“If we go out there and score a couple of touchdowns, and things like that, don’t worry about that, and continue to make plays and show your humbleness and maturity.”
Some of Young’s teammates who know him best from his University of Texas days and with the Titans liked the Vince Young they saw on Sunday.
“He looked like the old Vince that I saw in my three years in college with him,” safety Michael Griffin said. “He looked like the same Vince Young that I was used to seeing, playing with a confidence and making plays and being a leader on the field.”
Fullback Ahmard Hall, another Texas teammate, agreed.
“He’s always loose. That’s just the way Vince plays. I’ve been with him for seven years now,” Hall said. “That’s how he was at the University of Texas – national championship game, game on the line and he’s back there joking around and laughing. That’s just how Vince does it. He likes to keep the huddle loose and keep guys motivated. That’s just his style of play.”
Young did most of his work in the first half, completing 11 of 13 throws for 87 yards and the TD and finished the day with a passer rating of 114.1, the second highest rating in his career as a starter.
Young moved the chains with his legs a couple of times with 31 yards rushing on 11 carries, and made good decisions with the football. His only questionable throw came early in the game when Jacksonville cornerback Derek Cox dropped a sure interception in the end zone. But Young shook off the throw and took advantage of the break that came his way with a strong showing the rest of the game.
He credited offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger with part of that.
“He pretty much saw me grow up a little bit tonight,” Young said.
As did a lot of Titans fans and teammates.
“Decision-making, that’s what playing quarterback is all about. And he made good decisions the whole game,” guard Jake Scott said. “He wasn’t trying to force things, and that’s a good thing. He played a great game.”
As for Adams, who said he needed to see Young play in order to know what to do about a $4.2 million roster bonus in March and a $14.2 million cap hit in 2010, he said he gave Young, “A pretty damn high grade” on Sunday.