Thursday, July 28, 2011
Vince Young makes sense for Eagles
By Dan Graziano
This is an idea I feel like I've been writing about for months. And now that the Eagles have traded Kevin Kolb and the Titans have cut Vince Young, there's no reason for it not to happen. The Eagles should sign Young to be Michael Vick's backup quarterback. It makes all kinds of sense both ways.
Vince Young is 30-18 in his career as a starting quarterback.
There's no starting quarterback job out there for Young right now that I can see. Maybe the Dolphins, if the Kyle Orton deal really does fall all the way apart. But that's a big "if" and a long shot, and unless it happens I think everybody else has their starter. Young could wait around to see if a training-camp injury opens up a starting job, but in a league whose coaches and executives think very highly of Jeff Fisher and don't enjoy courting potential headaches, Young might not even be the first choice of a team who loses its quarterback in camp and needs a starter.
And even if he were, the Eagles and their backup role might be closer to what Young needs at this point in his career than the spotlight and pressures that go along with a starting quarterback's job. Young is clearly a talented player and leader. His college national championship and his 30-18 career record as an NFL starter attest to that. But the falling-out he had with Fisher in Tennessee last year showed that there are still maturity lessons he needs to learn before he can make the transformation into reliable, long-term NFL star quarterback. Those lessons are learnable, and Young is not too dense to learn them. But he needs to be in a place where learning his remaining lessons is more important than having to go out and win a game every Sunday.
The Eagles have shown the ability to coach a quarterback to greatness from a backup role. In Philadelphia, Young is likely to find coaches who know how to get through to him -- to identify what remains to be fixed about his game or his attitude or whatever it is that isn't all the way there yet, and to put him in a better position to succeed. The recent example of Vick shows that the Eagles' coaches don't even care whether that success comes in Philadelphia or not. Yes, with Vick, it has. But while they were coaching Vick in the backup role in 2009, the Eagles' coaching staff weren't doing it with the belief that he'd soon be their starter. They were trying to help a guy who needed help get better, and they did it. They could do the same for Young, and he'd be wise to realize that.
The move would be a good one for the Eagles, too. With Kolb gone, they no longer have a backup quarterback they know can step in, if Vick goes down, and win them a game. They like Mike Kafka, but he's not there yet. Young has won a lot of NFL games, and with the skill-position talent the Eagles have, he could surely step in and give them a better-than-average chance if they lost Vick for a quarter or a half or a game or two.
If it happens, and all goes well, the Eagles a year from now could find themselves in a position similar to the one they were in this week -- able to trade a backup quarterback for a starting quarterback price because they don't need him and another team desperately does.
Young to the Eagles is a move that makes sense for both sides, and I don't see any reason it shouldn't happen.