INDIANAPOLIS -- There was a moment when Vince Young looked really good Sunday. Don't bother looking on the game film, though, because the moment didn't happen there. Not once in the Titans' game at Indianapolis, when Young saw his most extensive action in months, did he look good. Not once.
But after the game, why yes, he looked good. He looked downright dapper. He was wearing a chocolate-brown suit with burnt orange pinstripes. Under that was a white Oxford with more burnt orange stripes. Nice leather shoes. Good belt. Quality ensemble.
"I want to represent my UT people," Young said.
The people at Texas would be proud. The man can dress.
Can he play quarterback? Heavens no. Which is why his appearance in the actual game Sunday was such a bad idea. The Titans were smart enough to win 13 of their first 15 games this season, but dumb enough to let Young play a whole lot in the 16th.
Not that sitting quarterback Kerry Collins was a bad move. It wasn't. The Pittsburgh Steelers demonstrated on Sunday the folly of giving too many snaps to a meaningful player in a meaningless game when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was carried off the field late in the second quarter against Cleveland. Roethlisberger might be ready for the Steelers' first playoff game. He might not. Either way, his head injury was suffered in the silliest of circumstances -- in a game that simply didn't matter.
Just like the Titans' game Sunday at Indianapolis.
It didn't matter. The Colts won 23-0, but like I said, it didn't matter.
Collins didn't need to play a lot, and so he didn't. But Young didn't need to play at all. He's that bad. The more he plays, the more his value drops. The Titans have all sorts of money tied into Young for the 2009 season, so whether they trade him or release him or keep him around for another lost season is up to them.
|Vince Young fails to get the Titans on the scoreboard. (Getty Images)|
His numbers were passable -- 9-for-13 for 55 yards; no interceptions or touchdowns -- but the numbers are misleading. Forget the numbers and get some expert analysis.
Ask the Titans coach how Young played.
"I'd have to watch the film," Jeff Fisher said.
Ask the Titans starting quarterback how Young played.
"It's hard to say without looking at film," Collins said.
Ask Young himself how he played.
"We definitely wanted to go out there and show our coaches we can run the right plays," Young said. "And I think we did that."
Terrific. So after Fisher and Collins study film of this absolute waste of time, they will see that Young ran the right plays. That's impressive. For his next trick, maybe he can coordinate a pocket handkerchief to go with that suit.
Don't look for him to become a starting quarterback in the NFL, though. That's asking a bit much. The thing is, Young displays enough pieces of an NFL quarterback to fool you. He's almost an impressionist piece of art, completely open to interpretation, and there are undoubtedly lots of people who were impressed Sunday with the way he juked Colts defensive tackle Raheem Brock before scrambling for seven yards. Or with the way he completed his last five passes of the game.
But without context, those impressions are like any downfield pass he tries to throw -- they are incomplete. Young scrambled five different times, gaining 25 yards, but never once ran for a first down. Those last five passes he completed? They also gained a total of 25 yards. His last three passes went for 0, 2 and 1 yard.
In roughly three quarters of action, Young produced no points against a Colts defense featuring second- and third-teamers. But he did take a sack to move the Titans out of chip-shot field-goal distance, and he did fumble after being run down from behind, and he did have tight end Bo Scaife flailing for short, wayward passes like a goalkeeper trying to get a piece of a penalty kick. Still, judging from the way he spoke about his play, Young believes he did just fine.
"A little rusty, then I started to get into the flow," he said. "I was able to use my legs, one of the God-given talents I have."
Young's devolution from his rookie season in 2006, when he somehow made it into the Pro Bowl, to now doesn't mean much to the Titans ... unless it all of a sudden means everything. The Titans will enter the playoffs with Collins as their clear No. 1 quarterback, and Collins has stayed healthy all season. That's good.
But good health is not a guarantee. Ask Roethlisberger. A quarterback can be healthy one snap and be gone the next. The transformation can be sudden.
The transformation from bad quarterback to good one isn't so simple. Young looks like a million bucks in the locker room. He looks like something else on the field.