Media declares Vince Young is back, but is he really?

11/24/09 in NFL   |   100%InjuryRate   |   1283 respect

The Titans are now 4-0 this year with Vince Young at the helm, and after Monday night's razor thin win over the Houston Texans, many people (such as ESPN's Skip Bayless) are going nuts over "the return of Vince Young."

Now, first of all, let me say I have nothing against Vince Young. In fact, he's a pretty easy guy to root for. He grew up in a fatherless home, committed himself to being a role-model and a father figure for his younger siblings, and when he may or may not have had a severe mental breakdown last season, he reminded us that even top-flight athletes are humans too.

But I'm not sure he's really any better than he was before as a quarterback.

See, the Titans started off 0-6 for one real specific reason. They abandoned the run. In the Titans' six losses (all with Kerry Collins), they averaged 34 passes. In these four wins (all with Vince Young), they've averaged 21 passes.

Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. The Titans are giving the ball to Chris Johnson a lot more now. And there's direct evidence of that.

In the Titans' six losses, Johnson had just under 16 carries per game. In the four wins: 26 per game. Yes, 10 more carries per game on average. Oh yeah, and he's the best running back in the league averaging 6.2 yards per carry.

If for some reason you think who's at QB for the Titans is direly important, then you won't want to hear these stats. Last year when the Titans went 13-3 and looked like a Super Bowl contender, guess how many passes Collins averaged per game? 25. That sounds awfully familiar. How many rushes per game did the Titans average in 2008? Nearly 32 per. That also sounds kind of familiar.

So what's really going on in Tennessee? I'll tell you what's going on. For six games, the Titans coaching staff idiotically tried to become a passing team and let Chris Johnson rot in the backfield. Jeff Fisher finally decided to make a switch to Vince Young, and in an effort to prevent Young's traditionally erratic arm from hoisting interceptions, he decided to beef up Johnson's carries. Presto, there's your win streak.

Now, granted Young is a much more mobile QB than Collins. He's throwing slightly less than Collins did because he's running instead. And he gives the Titans a real dual-running back threat. But is he really doing anything better than Collins would have done if Collins had been handing the ball off to Johnson an extra 10 times a game? I just don't see it.

So let's give credit where credit is due. To Chris Johnson. And to the imbecilic coaching staff of the Titans for finally stumbling back into exactly what made this team good last year - which is running the damn ball.
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