Emotional frailty has no place in NFL football.
Perhaps in other disciplines, the depressed and dejected can be built up and coached up to become tough, confident and successful. The NFL doesn’t have that kind of patience and understanding.
Such is the enigma that is Vince Young: A clearly talented, winning football player with severe, deep-seeded self-esteem issues in an atmosphere that isn’t conducive to players with severe, deep-seeded self-esteem issues.
Let’s survey the carnage from yesterday’s Vince Young meltdown:
– Young, despite playing well, was booed lustily Sunday, and often waved his arms to encourage more.
– Young injured his thumb after throwing deep to Nate Washington, setting up the Titans for a score.
– Young was removed to get healed and taped up, and was kept out after it became clear he couldn’t grip the ball well enough to throw accurately.
– Jeff Fisher inserted rookie Rusty Smith, who didn’t fare particularly well (3-for-9 / 62 yards / 0 TD / 1 INT / 19.0 QB rating).
– Young was apparently cleared to return, but Fisher would not re-insert him, citing Young’s penchant for fumbling. (He’d already coughed the ball up during the game.)
– Following the loss (19-16 in OT), Young walked toward the tunnel and threw his jersey and shoulder pads into the stands.
– Reportedly, Fisher and Young had to be separated by police.
– Young cursed out Fisher while coach addressed the team.
– Fisher asked Young to be quiet, but Young loudly finished dressing.
– Fisher implored Young, “Don’t you run out on your teammates” to which Young responded, “I’m not running out on my teammates, I’m running out on you.”
– Young walked out of the dressing room, ignored the media, and safety Michael Griffin was seen chasing after him.
– Fisher stated Young was out (regardless of the extent of his injury) and rookie Rusty Smith would be starting quarterback.
– A meeting between Titans owner Bud Adams and Fisher is scheduled for today to discuss “Fisher’s future with the team.”
All that said, here’s what else we know:
The Tennessee Titans were 5-4 and a game back of Indianapolis for first place in the AFC South.
Vince Young’s QB rating stood at 98.6, averaged 8 yards per attempt and threw 10 TDs against 3 INTs all season.
Vince Young is 30-17 as a starter, but has been benched no fewer than seven times in his short NFL career.
Vince Young’s only played two bad games all season. In the first game, Young threw 10 passes and was benched. In the second, Young filled in for an injured Kerry Collins.
Vince Young hasn’t thrown more than 28 passes in a game all season.
It’s clear Young’s either being protected from himself, or handcuffed for other unexplained reasons. It’s not yet certain of the Titans win in spite of or because of Young, and Fisher’s in no big hurry to find out.
Based on the information presented to us, it’s plausible to conclude the following:
1. Jeff Fisher hasn’t been enamored with Young in quite some time, and merely plays Young to appease the owner.
2. Young plays for himself, but may not be maximizing his potential as a subconscious act of defiance against his coach.
Our bold prediction: Vince Young is signed by the Redskins in the off-season to replace Donovan McNabb. Jeff Fisher is fired from the Titans and subsequently hired to be the next Cowboys head coach.
Book it. I’d put $20 on that.
Vince Young Meltdown [CBS]