Vince Young is your backup QB.
Will there be a QB controversy? Are we just trying to stir the pot because that's what Buffalo fans do? Do we like this signing? Time will tell...but we can do some research here about Vince Young's time in Tennessee. We are joined by the boys over at Total Titans to help dissect what went wrong with VY in Tennessee. Yes, doing a Q&A about the backup QB is probably overkill, but I'm curious to find out what all VY's problems were.
1) What are his strengths and weaknesses?
Keep in mind it's been close to 18 months since VY took a snap at quarterback for the Titans. I saw a little bit of his play in Philly last year, but not enough to tell if he's fundamentally changed as a passer. VY at his best (he was fairly effected the first half of 2010, before Kenny Britt was lost to injury) was an above-average deep ball thrower and below-average passer on short and intermediate throws thanks to poor timing and what looked like very spotty accuracy in terms of both straight completion percentage and the sort of precise accuracy that allows for yards after catch. The Titans then were a very low-volume passing offense, as he rarely attempted more than 25 throws a game. While he had some success with it as a rookie and was great at it in college, VY has not been a very effective rusher in the NFL. Hip injuries in 2007 may have had something to do with that. He was also fumble-prone and took a lot of sacks for a lot of his career, though that was something he seemed to get better at.
2) What happened to Young and Fisher?
Philosophically it was a bad fit. Fisher likes a controlled passing game with a quarterback who doesn't make a lot of mistakes and is able to reliably hit open receivers. Young even when he improved made too many mistakes and missed open receivers. Beyond that fundamental philosophical problem, Fisher believed that the quarterback of the team had to be absolutely reliable, while VY considered quitting football after a rookie season in which he made the Pro Bowl and didn't seem to improve from his first to second seasons. Attendance at meetings was also reportedly an issue at times.
3) How did he split the locker room?
I'm not sure how much he really split the locker room. If he did, it was in 2010 and some faction just thought Kerry Collins sucked so much VY's transgressions should be overlooked. Given what a lot of teammates seem to care about is their ability to rely on a player to do his job day in and day out, I'm not sure a majority of the team was really behind VY.
4) What happened with the AWOL stuff?
I don't recall ever seeing a good explanation for that. I think the best way to describe is VY had an extreme crisis of confidence after that game (Week 1 2008 against the Jaguars), where the Jaguars players apparently taunted him on the field for being a crybaby. I think the post I wrote at the time (http://www.totaltitans.com/2008-articles/september/on-vince-young.html) holds up relatively well.
5) Do you think he can be a starting QB in the NFL?
Does VY possess the physical potential to be a decent starting quarterback in the NFL? Used the right way, which I think Gailey could do, he can be a useful player.
The biggest question about him is the mental side of the game. Does he have the discipline and professionalism to hone his craft, improve his mechanics, timing, and accuracy, study defenses, and accept his role on the team, whether it's as starting quarterback, backup, or gadget #3 QB? There are very legitimate reasons from VY's past to think the answer to those questions is something other than "yes," but I can't tell you what the answer now is.