Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Protecting the quarterback

Admittedly, I can never be partial when it comes to Vince Young. That's just my dude: he's from the southside of Houston, I covered him - briefly - during his senior year at Madison High School and he can ball in a way that I appreciate.

(As a brief aside, I saw the final game of Vince's prep career in the Class 5A state semifinals. He was absolutely bananas that night - threw for 400, ran for nearly 100, scored 6 touchdowns. If only his team could have mounted any defense; he had to come in at safety in the fourth quarter. That was the only time Madison stopped the opposition's offense. It still wasn't enough - Madison lost 48-42.)

Don't come to me with talk about his side-arm throwing motion, his Wunderlic score or his completion percentage in the NFL. I really don't want to hear it, ok?

But, for the moment, I'm really worried about Vince. This latest bit of turmoil in Nashville seems to be an ominous sign. There seems to be a lot more to the story than, simply, Young left his cell phone behind and was out of pocket for a couple of hours.

Like Richard Justice, I think Vince is struggling to deal with his first bit of on-field failure. But I disagree that, already, he's a flop. That's quite a leap, especially considering in his first two years he's been the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, a Pro Bowl alternate and has won 18 of his 29 starts.

Vince may indeed be depressed, something that his mother has suggested in recent interviews. If that's the case, I sincerely hope that he gets the professional help he needs. And I'm not talking about a new package of play-action passes.

* There may be something, too, to the thought that the University of Texas' football stars during the Mack Brown era have been encased in such a cocoon in Austin that it's tough for them to deal with the pressure and scrutiny of the NFL. Ricky Williams and Cedric Benson are a couple others who come to mind.

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