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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Vince Young done in Tennessee

So Bud Adams has made his decision and it is that Vince Young is out in Tennessee. Everyone knew that either Young or Coach Jeff Fisher were not going to be back next year after their fiasco this season. Not the most stunning news but it is mildly surprising. Young was hand picked by the Titans owner to take over the franchise after the Steve McNair era. Adams had been hot on Young’s trail every since he rose to stardom as a high school star at Houston’s Madison high school. Adams being a Houston native was able to see the potential in Young as he demolished several Texas high school records. Every since Adams and Young met they seemed to have a bond between each other. After Young sensational college career, where he set multiple University of Texas records and led them to a national championship in his final year, Young was selected with the 3rd pick by Tennessee in the 2006 draft.

Young would have his ups and downs from the beginning of his tenure with Tennessee. He would have a breakout rookie season that saw him go 8-5 after being inserted as the starter by the request of owner Bud Adams. Young showed a flair for the dramatics and won over Titan fans with his three fourth quarter comebacks including one against arch rival Indianapolis. He would set an NFL record by rushing for 552 yards and was named Offensive rookie of the year.

Everyone expected a big jump from Young in 2007 after his great rookie campaign. Young would put up decent numbers finishing the season with 2,459 yards with 9 touchdowns but he also seemed to regress as he threw 17 interceptions. He would still go on to lead Tennessee to the playoffs for his first time and was named to pro bowl again after a Phillip Rivers injury.

2008 was the season where things begin shaky for Young. In the first game of the season, Young was under performing against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The fans let him know about it as they showered him and the Titans with boos, something Young was not use to. Young’s rough day included only throwing for 110 yards and being intercepted twice. Young was slow to head back into the game. Once Young did reluctantly get back into the game he sprained his knee two plays later and was on crutches after the game. This would be the first incident between Young and Jeff Fisher. Fisher was noticeably angry that Young did not wasn’t to go back into the game. Fisher would name Kerry Collins as the starter for the rest of year due to Young’s unenthusiastic response. Young would also be subject to a suicidal incident that led to an all out search for his whereabouts in Nashville. He was reported as dismayed when he left his home according to his mother and he was also noted as having a gun. Fisher and Young’s mother notified the police who found Young. Young stated that he was fine and the situation was way overblown. Collins would lead the team to a 13-3 record and a first round bye in the playoffs. The season would end in the divisional round with a lost to Baltimore however.

The 2009 campaign saw Young relegated to the sidelines at the beginning of the season. The Titans however begin the season a dismal 0-6 and thus prompting owner Bud Adams to once again request Young’s services. Even as Adams urged Fisher to make the change and Fisher obliged he stated that “I'm still in Kerry Collins' corner because I don't believe that our record is a reflection of the quarterback play," Fisher said. "It's a reflection of the team play. I'm still in his corner, but we've decided to go ahead and make this change." Young would prove Fisher wrong as he would go on to lead the Titans to eight victories in ten tries. He led a stunning comeback against the defending NFC champion Arizona Cardinals that saw him at his best. He capped a 99-yard drive at the end of the game with a game winning pass to Kenny Britt. It was the first game I remember thinking this guy is on to something as he was poised and threw the deep ball better than I could ever remember seeing from him. Young again would make the Pro Bowl as a replacement for Phillip Rivers yet again.

Coming into this season, it was supposed to be the coming of age for Young as he finally had taken the starting QB job back from Kerry Collins and had a full off season to solidify his standing with the team. He had put to bed the rumors of his childish acts and selfish mentality. Young showed in the preseason a new more dedicated work ethic and it proved to be working at the beginning of the season. Young looked comfortable in the pocket and his throwing as well as he ever has as a pro.

The Titans reflected from Young’s new found confidence and would start hot going 5-2. Young was enjoying his best statistical year as he had a QB rating of 103.1 at that junction of the season trailing only Michael Vick for the highest rating.

Everything changed for Young, Fisher and the Titans when the Washington Redskins came to town in week 9. The Titans were not playing the most inspired football and the fans again let them know about it. Young seemed to take exception. He began to wave his hands up and down to antagonize the crowd in Nashville, something you never do. Young was enjoying a decent game until he was injured making a throw. Young would try to tough it out and re-enter the game but trainers and Coach Jeff Fisher would not let him. Young self-destructed after the teams decision. His list of incidents after include: throwing his helmet and shoulder pads into the stands, walking past reporters and brushing off a teammate who tired to talk to him before he left the stadium and mumbling words at Jeff Fisher during his post-game speech. Young would also storm out of the locker room before Fisher was finished delivering his rant and Fisher reportedly stated that he was quitting on his team. Young responded back by saying that he wasn’t quitting on them but he was quitting on Fisher.

This was later stated by Fisher “I am very disappointed. I think his teammates are disappointed,” Fisher said. “You know, there is going to be frustration in losses. There is going to be times when you have to dig deep and fight and turn to one another. I don’t think you run, and so I am disappointed

In my opinion that was the straw that broke the camel’s back in Nashville. Not only was Young immature and childish in response to good decision by fisher and the training staff not to put him back in the game but he also sullied his reputation with the fans. There were already rumors about his mental fortitude after his previous meltdowns. Some said that in the locker room teammates preferred Kerry Collins to start as well. Coach Jeff Fisher seemed to never be in Young’s corner from the very beginning. He tried to suffice with Young on many occasion to soothe owner Bud Adams’s prized possession. But in the end neither man could stand each other’s presence. Young seemed to always think Fisher was against him and was never able to gain his coaches confidence. Both are to blame for the relationship not working. Fisher went out of his way to say that even if Young was not injured, he would not be his starting quarterback anymore, which I can understand due to his antics. What I will never understand between Fisher and Young is their lack of communication. Young didn’t even speak to Fisher about the incident until a few days later and resorted to sending him a text message to apologize. Fisher stated that a man would have spoken to him face to face to offer an apology which I agree to but again did he have to make that statement publicly?

In the end this was a relationship doomed to fail. Young was sort of a diva and thought he would have his own rules as he did everywhere else he played. Fisher is an old school guy who treats everyone the same until they earn the respect of him and the team. Bud Adams fostered Young and also splintered the relationship of Young and Fisher. It’s a shame that it couldn’t work out. It is surprising that Adams choose Young over Fisher as Young was suppose to be Adams protégé.As for Young, I’m sure he will land on his feet. There is always a team looking for a QB. The Young and Fisher saga has sadly played its last note in Music City.

So what do you guys think Vince Young's legacy will be remembered as in Tennessee?

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