Fisher gives Vince Young an ultimatum

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During Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher’s season-ending press conference, he gave somewhat mixed signals as to who will start at quarterback for Tennessee in 2009. However, his message to franchise quarterback-in-waiting Vince Young was crystal clear:

“We expect 100 percent commitment from Vince and will accept nothing less than that.”

During last year’s offseason, Young split time between Austin and Nashville, as the former Texas Longhorns quarterback took classes towards the completion of his bachelor’s degree.

It sounds as if Fisher would like Young to put his pursuit of a degree on hold:

Yeah, this is about Vince Young and this is about spending the time here. About committing himself to the offseason program and just doing the best he possibly can to make himself a better football player and taking advantage of the experience he gained this year despite the fact that he didn’t play.

During the press conference, Fisher reiterated that he expects VY to be back under center for the Titans “eventually.”

Will “eventually” be in 2009, 2010, or 2011?

Fisher expressed his desire to have 2008 starting quarterback Kerry Collins back on the roster:

Kerry is important to us. Kerry played very, very well for us and in particular Saturday afternoon [versus the Ravens] I thought he played his best game for us against a very, very difficult defense.

Collins has made it clear that he wants a starting job in 2009, or he’s hanging up the cleats:

“I made my case known, that I’d like to be here and feel that I can be a part of several more good seasons. I have several good years left in me, I know that. I will pack up and go somewhere else. I don’t want to, but that’s the reality of this business. … I am a starter in this league, and if nothing materializes that way I will retire.

So what does this mean? Do the Titans want to bring Collins back to be their starting quarterback, or do they want to have Young compete hard with Collins to reclaim his job?

What if VY stays in Nashville, fully commits to the offseason program, and wins the job while Collins is on the roster? Will Collins retire at the start of the 2009 season?

Ultimately, the quarterback job is Young’s to win, or lose.

Tennessee is not trading Vince Young. He has no trade value after essentially sitting out the 2008 season, and his contract is too large for another team to gamble on a player who has yet to prove he is a reliable NFL quarterback. Also, both Fisher and Titans owner Bud Adams has expressed public support for VY.

I hope Vince Young is competitive enough to not settle for sitting on the bench for the next three season and ending his pro football career as a bust. It’s up to him to commit to mastering the art of quarterbacking and regaining the trust of his coaches and teammates.

Whether or not Young decides to return to Austin may very well signal the direction his career is heading.

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