To bench or not to bench: All eyes on VY come Sunday
I find myself in a more awkward position than the time I asked my buddy’s wife how soon she was due and she told me she had the baby three weeks ago.
The position? Jeff Fisher apologist.
[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=Vince+Young+Titans&iid=9748450″ src=”http://view1.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9748450/nfl-oakland-raiders/nfl-oakland-raiders.jpg?size=500&imageId=9748450″ width=”312″ height=”211″ /]I’m neither a fan nor a foe of the Titans coach. He deserves at least a modicum of respect for being the league’s longest-tenured head man, and he’s earned the right to decide who should quarterback his team at any given moment without it touching off a firestorm.
All week I’ve heard criticism of Fisher for his benching of Vince Young after three quarters against the Steelers. I’ve even heard some go so far as to say he wronged Young by pulling him.
The benching came at the start of the fourth quarter, with the Titans trailing 13-3. Through three quarters Young had been intercepted twice and fumbled twice. The offense had amassed 96 total yards, including a whopping 3 in the third quarter.
For anyone rising to the defense of Young, what more did you need to see against Pittsburgh to understand that he was overmatched? Do you honestly believe he could have led the Titans to eight more points in the fourth quarter and within a great catch by Nate Washington and two-point conversion of tying the game in the final minute?
Kerry Collins came on and passed for 149 yards in the final 15 minutes, or 53 more yards than the entire offense had put up in the first 45 minutes. His pass to Washington was a well-thrown ball that gave his receiver a chance to make a play that would have made it 19-17. For that Fisher deserves to be raked over the coals, drawn and quartered in all corners of the globe?
These opinions leave me incredulous. Has Young’s NFL career been so wonderful that he’s beyond reproach? If so, where have I been? Young has 34 career touchdown passes and 41 career interceptions including the two games this season. He’s a 58-percent passer. He has never thrown for more than 2,600 yards in a season.
Here’s a comparison for you with Young and another QB who entered the league in 2006. They have similar numbers of NFL starts (Young has 41 to this player’s 36) and passing attempts (Young has 1,061; QB X has 1,181). QB X has 48 touchdown passes and 49 interceptions. He’s a 53-percent passer who threw for 3,787 yards in 2007.
Anyone getting Derek Anderson’s bronze bust ready for Canton?
Are any of the Young apologists concerned that Fisher said in the aftermath of the 19-11 loss to the Steelers that he and the offensive staff “probably had too much in the game plan?” This is Young’s fifth year in the league. Are the Jets and Ravens worried they’re putting too much in the gameplans for Mark Sanchez and Joe Flacco, two QBs younger than Young?
For his part, Collins, who’s 37, has seen it all. He’s been the guy benched and he’s been the guy who came off the bench.
It comes with choosing to be a quarterback in the first place.
“It’s the position that garners the most interest and recognition,” Collins said. “Obviously when something goes down people are quick to throw their two cents in, discuss, critique, ‘who’s playing better.’
“That’s why, in my opinion, it’s the most difficult position to play in all of professional sports because there is so much scrutiny and so much pressure and coverage and what have you that it just adds to everything you have to deal with day in and day out.”
Collins said after years of being under the microscope he learned not to let things beyond his control affect him.
But he also said it definitely took time to reach that point.
“At first you read everything in the newspaper and you listen to what everybody is saying, but after a while you just realize that it becomes 100-percent counterproductive to what you’re trying to do,” Collins said. “Everybody has got an opinion, and most of the time it’s people who don’t know what they’re talking about to begin with. You realize that’s the deal. Put it in its place and move on.”
We’ll see Sunday against the Giants if Young has put it in its place and moved on.