Young to start; what now?

NFL: Hall of Fame Game-Buffalo Bills vs Tennessee TitansCoach Jeff Fisher, under the influence of owner Bud Adams, named Vince Young the starting quarterback of the Tennessee Titans as the team prepares to play the Jacksonville Jaguars. What does this mean?

Adams saved Fisher from himself

Fisher, one of the most respected coaches in the NFL, is known for protecting his players. In the case of Kerry Collins, Fisher was overprotective and loyal to a fault.

Collins forced the Titans hand during the offseason by giving the team an ultimatum: offer me a contract and give me the starting job, or I will retire. This was an easy decision for Titans management, given Young’s meltdown in 2008, but it ranks with the decision not to resign Albert Haynesworth as the biggest management mistake of 2009.

Adams’ insistence that Young start at quarterback corrected Fisher’s excessive loyalty to the struggling Collins, currently ranked 30th among NFL quarterbacks. Young now has another chance to develop, learn on the field, and regain the respect of his teammates.

Fisher did not save his job

Fisher avoided being fired immediately by starting Young, but he remains on the hot seat. Adams is not pleased with the Titans 0-6 start and he will continue to monitor the team’s response to Fisher’s coaching.

Perhaps, after 15-plus years, a 5-6 playoff record, and another disappointing follow-up to a 13-3 season (see 2001), it’s time for new leadership.

This may not be an audition for 2010

Conventional wisdom says that Vince Young is fighting for his life as a Tennessee Titan and he has 10 games to prove he’s worth the salary and roster bonus due to him next spring.

But here’s a scary thought for Young’s critics: Adams, a consistent supporter of Vince Young, has spoken, and Fisher, who sat Young for most of 2008, granted Adams’ wish. What if Adams concludes that Fisher didn’t do enough to develop Young’s talent? He could fire Fisher and find a head coach who’s committed to keeping Young as the Titans’ starting quarterback.

Of course, Vince could prove his critics right by playing poorly, but Collins’ play has set the bar very low. If Young can’t outplay Collins, this may be his last hurrah in Nashville.


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