- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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The team’s former center offered some solid insight on Young, who will appear on a roundtable as part of “Year of the Quarterback: Kick Off Special” on ESPN at 10 p.m. ET tonight.
“It might be time for a change of scenery,” Mawae said when we talked of Young’s leadership in his fifth season. “I played with Warren Moon, I played with Vinny Testaverde, I played with Kerry Collins, I played with Chad Pennington and the one thing all those guys had in common is that they were all field generals and leaders on the field. And there is one name missing that’s very obvious. And there is a difference in those four players versus the one that plays for the Titans.
“... It is disappointing because the kid’s got all the talent in the world and has had an opportunity to step up and hasn’t done so. He’s a great athlete and he wins games. That’s one thing you can never take away from Vince is that he wins ballgames. ... But as far as being the consummate pro like some of the other guys in the league, it’s disappointing that he hasn’t taken that step.”
Mawae, president of the NFL Players Association, didn’t have much of an update on the labor situation, pledging only that his people will be ready if a lockout arrives, but work hard to avoid one.
Other topics we touched on:
The Titans’ offensive line play: “No. 68 [Mawae's number] is not in the middle, that’s what the biggest problems is [laughing]. The Titans have always faced eight- and nine-man fronts. Now maybe the way they’ve incorporated them is different, none the less it’s the same box count the front has always seen. For whatever reason, the quarterbacks have gotten more banged-up this year. Without knowing intimately what’s going on as far as the players concerned, they just don’t look like they’re jelling. Without sounding like it’s all about me, it’s hard to see, to watch and to say anything that doesn’t sound like it’s directed back to me. I just hope they right the ship.”
Chris Johnson: “He looks like he’s trying to be more deliberate, instead of more natural like he was last year. I think last year he let the game dictate how he ran the ball. This year it seems like he’s pressing a little bit. I did talk to [offensive line coach Mike Munchak] earlier in the season and he said other teams are trying to make Chris run between the tackles and not let him get to the edge and bounce to the numbers and things like that. It’s hard yards up inside the middle. If you carrying 20 times a game and 18 or 15 are up the gut where 10 guys are piling up on you, it takes a toll on you. He’s going to have his breakouts, but to see a seven carries for 5-yard game or a 40-yard game, it’s very uncharacteristic for Chris Johnson and the Titans' offensive line. He just doesn’t look as smooth and instinctive as he has the last couple years.”
The New York Life Protection Index: “It comes up with a rating scale from 1 to 100 to rate how well an offensive line is doing and it’s a measure of how a team is having success. Teams like the Colts, the Saints and the Giants are at the top of the index, and it’s no surprise the three of them are making a push for the playoffs right now. Go down to the bottom and you’ve got teams like the Niners and the Raiders and they are struggling right now.”