On Vince Young

NOTE: I have not discussed this subject with Andrew or Drexel, and don’t know what they think. The opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone, except to the extent they (or anyone else) happen to agree with me.

One thing some of you have noticed, and wondered why Total Titans haven’t participated in this past week’s Vince Young Media Explosion. I can’t speak for Andrew and Drexel (though see this comment), but I had a couple reasons for this, and I’m now going to explain why.

The first and most important reason for this is I strongly prefer to blog about topics where I feel like I have something valuable to say, and in particular to add to a conversation or to create one where I think one should exist. That’s why, for instance, I wrote about the release of Dwayne Blakley. That seemingly minor decision had relatively important implications-both financial and what it indicates in terms of front office management, and I hadn’t seen anyone else explore those.

When it comes to Vince Young, though, I have no such expertise. First, I am not acquainted with Vince Young, nor with anyone who knows him. That means I have no special insight into his character, or what makes him tick. For insight into VY, I’m then relying on the same media reports we’ve all seen. I can’t even truthfully claim to know people like VY, for archetypal knowledge. Second, I am not a psychologist, not even of the semi-knowledgeable amateur variety. That means I have no special expertise that helps me evaluate the news reports.

That means, to write an intelligent post, I have to do a synthesis of the media coverage that’s out there. Doing an intelligent media synthesis on a topic where you have no particular expertise is, in my experience, a non-trivial task. In particular, it takes a lot of time, and, frankly, I haven’t had the time this week to read even half of the stuff published about VY. Instead, I’m forced to rely on my personal heuristics, biases, and general observational perspective?

Ok, fine, I do rely on that stuff all the time, for example in doing something in writing one of my more speculative posts or about something relatively obvious. So, what does that tell me here? A couple comments:
1. Mack Brown at Texas has a reputation for coddling his star players. Take a look at the Texas players drafted in the top 5 who played for Mack Brown: RB Ricky Williams, T Leonard Davis, CB Quentin Jammer, T Mike Williams, RB Cedric Benson, and VY. Of those, Williams and Benson are unmitigated busts, Jammer’s ok but not elite, Davis busted at T before becoming a decent G, and Williams, while a good player, was tossed out of New Orleans, never lived up to the hype, and is, well, somewhat of a flake for an NFL player. That’s a pretty impressive string of Top 5 busts.
2. VY has never really faced football-related adversity before. He was a star player in high school, and was one of the top couple players in the country when he committed to Texas. At Texas, he started for 2+ years, and, just to put things in perspective, had as many Rose Bowl MVP Trophies his last 2 years as losses. That’s an incredibly impressive record, and after doing that, he’s essentially a god in parts of Houston and Austin. When he gets to the NFL, he’s able to make exciting plays to help his team to a surprisingly good 8-8 record, then quarterbacks his team to the playoffs. Now, though, Mike Heimerdinger is around and in charge, and VY’s failures have surely drawn him heat. It’s dispiriting to fail at something you’ve been good at for so long, and to have that made known to you by someone with an abrasive personality can be particularly unpleasant.
3. VY was not going to start for the Titans on Sunday against the Bengals, irrespective of anything that’s happened since the conclusion of the game against the Jaguars. He suffered what by all accounts is a legitimate injury (viz., the sprained MCL) that will prevent him from playing, let alone starting, for several weeks. I intrinsically care less about guys who aren’t starting than guys who are starting. Injury rehab essentially is, and we have hardly any more/better information as to when VY will return than we did 5 days ago.
4. It was very unclear to me whether VY was suffering “merely” a crisis of professional confidence or serious personal problems requiring medical attention. The sort of tone I would take in writing a post is different based on which of those this has been. The latest news militates strongly, though not absolutely definitively, in favor of the latter conclusion. See above re me not being a psychologist.
5. I found this piece by Henry Abbott of TrueHoop to be interesting, and possibly applicable to the VY situation. There have been a number of people talking to, at, and/or about VY, and it’s unclear to me how many of them (1) VY is listening to, (2) have VY’s, as opposed to their own, interests at heart, and (3) know what the hell they’re talking about.

Anyway, where does that leave me now? Right now, Vince Young is an injured player on the Titans. He is currently rehabbing from his injuries, and should be ready to play in a couple weeks. Unless and until that status and projection changes, or something else happens that I believe I am qualified, can, and want to talk about happens, that’s all I have to say about Vince Young. I will respond to comments in this thread, but would ask that you try to limit your VY comments to posts where they are relevant.