Hoge and Whitlock began their criticism of Young before the quarterback ever took a snap in a regular season game.
After Young’s injury and post game one meltdown in 2008, Peter King hammered Young for weeks. I will never forget King”s “Bud Adams” favorite boy toy” comment (which has been removed from the SportsIllustrated.com article in which it appeared) and his delineation of how the Titans could get rid of Young in 2010.
After Young’s recent performances, King has complemented the quarterback, although he seems to give most of the credit for VY’s turnaround to offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger. Fair enough.
Merril Hoge, the most well-known Vince Young critic because of his visibility on ESPN, crossed the line from dissing VY’s skills in 2006 to name-calling (“soft baby”) during a 2008 radio interview. But recently, Hoge reluctantly acknowledged Young”s improvement:
“There is no question he is on the right path. Is he there? No. But the last two weeks have been some serious steps and improvement as a leader, as a quarterback, and in his maturity.”
Hoge must know he is perceived as Young”s biggest critic, because he also had this to say:
“All I have ever done is give my evaluation of his skill set, and some people make it seem like I hate the guy. You can go get every air-check I’ve ever done, and you’ll never find me say I hate the guy. There is no reason to hate Vince Young; I’ve never met him,” Hoge said. “And if I had something against Vince Young I’d come out right now and say he got lucky.”
How about Jason Whitlock?
Whitlock has been Young’s most intractable critic. His criticism has made my blood boil on several occasions, because most of his jabs have little to do with football and much to do with his questions about Young’s character and upbringing. Anyone who has read Whitlock’s columns knows how incendiary and irrational his opinions can be.
After the Titans defeated the Texans on November 23, Whitlock wrote this about Young:
Vince Young believes he was done wrong by his critics and perhaps Jeff Fisher. He”s wallowing in victimhood (emphasis mine… here we go again, Jason) and looking for an I-told-you-so moment.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope Young understands the mistakes he made and what he has to do to build on the success he’s enjoying now. He’s never going to be a guy who puts up huge passing numbers. That’s fine.
Young passed for 387 yards and had a career-defining 99-yard touchdown drive on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
Jason Whitlock, that was Vince Young’s I told-you-so moment.