Why there's a new round of debate on VY

November, 16, 2010
11/16/10
2:23
PM ET
Nashville’s buzzing with the next round of Vince Young talk.

It has been spurred by how things unfolded Sunday when he didn’t start because of an ankle injury but seemed to move around just fine when he was inserted in the second half.

Then there was one report that he missed a rehab session or sessions during the Titans' bye week and another that said he missed a meeting last Friday.

Vince Young
AP Photo/Rhona WiseVince Young's fumble cost the Titans as the Dolphins recovered and scored a TD two plays later.
Someone inside the building told me before Jeff Fisher said it at Monday’s press conference that Young was not asked to be in Nashville for treatment during the team’s time off. So scratch the rehab story.

And it would have been awfully hard for Young to miss a Friday meeting since the team was off Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

So we’ve got the record straight there.

Of course Fisher said it was ultimately his decision to keep Young out of the lineup in Miami.

But Young had been labeled a “game-time decision.” And unlike virtually every other player deemed a game-time decision, he was not on the field for an early warm-up session where a trainer and coach watched him and then voiced their opinion for an ultimate determination. (Young did warm-up once guys were all out there in uniform, that’s not the issue here.)

The decision to go with Kerry Collins could well have been tied to the status of Young’s ankle earlier in the week, when Young hardly got his share of full snaps. Perhaps because Collins got more work, he got the start even if Young was better by Sunday.

Still, as Sunday unfolded, it sure looked like Collins’ messed up middle finger on his throwing hand had more of a bearing on his bad play (before he injured his calf) than Young’s ankle had on his performance once he came off the bench.

If Young's ankle was so bad, why were rollouts called for him? If it was so bad, how was he able to tiptoe the sideline on a nice run?

I work to steer clear of pretending to know someone’s pain.

But it seems pretty clear Young could have handled his from kickoff against the Dolphins.

I think people with the Titans and people who have a rooting interest in the Titans would like to have seen Young press through and for him to have told Fisher early in the week and again on Sunday, “This is mine, I’ve got this.”

The sense around the team is that he hardly did so.

And while he moved around well, he didn’t play particularly well. His early fumble deep in his own end was especially disappointing.

Yes, his numbers on the season are good.

But he’s now missed a quarter of the Pittsburgh game (benched over preparation and performance issues), a quarter of the Jacksonville game (when he hurt his knee and ankle), the entire Philadelphia game (as a result of those injuries), a quarter of the San Diego game, (when he reinjured the ankle) and half of the Miami game (before he was called on to replace Collins).

That’s not insignificant time for a guy people are still looking for to grab hold of this team and to lead it. When he's hurt but can still play, he doesn’t seem to get the idea of seizing the franchise, and we’re back to asking if he understand what it takes.

He’s got seven games left in his fifth season and commitment and leadership issues still linger.

Collins is on the shelf for at least two weeks, probably longer. The fallback is rookie Rusty Smith.

Young can make up for the distractions and answer the questions with a solid stretch run. If he’s spotty, he’ll not only fail to snuff out the ongoing debate, he’ll provide kindling for it.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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