Thursday, September 11, 2008

More on Football Jesus

That's my nickname for Vince Young, of course.

Anyhow, Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle offers his thoughts over the latest hubbub surrounding Vince.

I was ready to disagree with Jerome's assertion that Young is the most polarizing player in the NFL. But after thinking it over for a few minutes, I'm inclined to agree:

I know an NFL head coach who would quit if he had to put Young behind center every Sunday afternoon. And I know another NFL head coach who imagines all the spectacular things he could do with a dynamic athlete like Young running the show.

No, it's not that. The coach who doesn't like Young has had many black quarterbacks lead his team, while the one who loves what he sees in Young has cut every black QB he has ever had.

No, it's not that. One of the head coaches has never won anything. The other has been on multiple Super Bowl staffs.

I know a top NFL receiver who thinks his team would have made the playoffs in the past couple of years if Young were playing in his city, and another top NFL receiver who would holdout for a trade if Young became his quarterback.

Three years after the Titans bucked convention and chose Young with the third pick in the draft, there's still serious debate over whether he can become a premier NFL starting quarterback (this is an argument I had with friends the other day).

I say so, given that Vince has gifts that most other quarterbacks simply don't have. No, he'll never be a traditional quarterback in the efficient mold of Jeff Garcia or Drew Brees. But I'm willing to take that chance, realizing that I'll cause of hell of a lot more problems for your defense if my quarterback is the best running threat on the field.

I attribute some of Vince's early struggles to a few things: playing with a college offensive coordinator (Norm Chow) for the first couple years; changing OCs in the offseason; and playing with a corps of receivers that are, to be generous, not of NFL caliber. And despite that, he won 18 of his first 29 starts and led the Titans to a playoff berth despite playing in one of the NFL's toughest divisions.

So, I'm thinking he'll be fine, in time, and with some consistency and an improving supporting cast. Reports of his demise, to me, have been greatly exaggerated. Give him some time.

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