I have been trying to figure out the love for Vince Young (VY) ever since news broke that we might sign him. I've been repeatedly bashed for hating on Vince Young but no one can give me a solid argument as to why he deserves so much credit.
The arguments I usually get are ‘he has a ton of potential' or he is 30-18 as a starter. The potential is a tough thing to argue and I don't totally disagree. Yes, he is a gifted athlete no question there and I'm not here to argue his athletic ability. When he needs to, he can run and he's won games doing just that.
The 30-18 record argument is weak yet it's everyone's go to argument. It's worse than the Cowboys telling us how many rings they have. Has anyone bothered to look at his stats in these games? I didn't want to have to do this analysis but I wanted to see if I was crazy or not. After all it is possible that I was unjustly hating on this guy. After discussing this with Foos who seemed to echo my thoughts I decided to dig into the wins to see exactly how good VY was. Well I'm here to tell you that I am not crazy and after the jump you will see what I mean.
I did an analysis on every win VY has started in, I tried to be as fair as I could when deciding who or what the main reason they won each game was. There are 30 Ws here with two you will see I don't think should be counted at all. Even though VY started the games he was knocked out before the end of the first half.
I have included the team they beat, that teams final record that year, VY's passing stats and the score of the game along with my brief analysis on who/what won the game and why. It's interesting to note that just 7 teams that VY "won" against in these 30 games were over .500 at the end of the year.
*Remember I'm not here to argue whether VY is an athlete or not, we know he is. I'll give him some credit for his rushing in games because it is part of who he is as a QB but I want to focus on the job he does as a passer. There is no doubt in my mind that he could win a decent amount of games by running alone.
Beat Washington (5-11) - 25-22 - VY 161 yards 1 TD 0 INT 85.6 Rating
Beat Houston (6-10) - 28-22 - VY 87 yards 1 TD 0 INT 87.4 Rating
Tennessee's Defense/ST had 3 Fumble recoveries 1 for a TD 2 INTs and a Punt Return TD. It's hard to argue this one, even with VY having an okay game with 2 TDs 1 passing and 1 rushing but low overall numbers.
Beat Philadelphia (10-6) - 31-13 - VY 101 yards 1 TD 0 INT 66.7 Rating
Travis Henry ran all over the Eagles for 143 Yards 1 TD and the Defense scored 2 TDs. No question here.
Beat New York Giants (8-8) - 24-21 - VY 249 yards 2 TDs 0 INTs 107.9 Rating
VY flat out, he also had 69 rushing yards and a rushing TD.
Beat Indianapolis Colts (12-4) 20-17 - VY 163 yards 2 TDs 2 INTs 72.6
I'm giving this to VY but its close he had an okay game throwing 2 TDs but he also threw 2 picks and if not for a 60 yard FG with time expiring this is in the loss column. He only completed 1 pass on the final drive and barely got them in range.
Beat Houston (6-10) - 26-20 (OT) - VY 218 yards 0 TDs 1 INT 73.6 Rating
The passing stats are bad VY won this game on the ground with his 86 rushing yards and 2 yard rushing TD in OT.
Beat Jacksonville (8-8) - 24-17 - VY 85 yards 0 TDs 0 INTs 70.1 Rating
The Defense had 3 INTs for 2 TDs and a Fumble return for TD, no question here those passing stats are pitiful.
Beat Buffalo (7-9) - 30-29 - VY 183 yards 2 TDs 0 INTs 127.7 Rating
VY won this game he also had 61 rushing yards and 1 TD.
2006 Summary - Was a decent year for VY as a rookie he looked like a rookie should have. I give him credit for 4 wins I want to say 3 since he won one game purely by running but I'm trying to be fair. At this point there was reason to believe he could be an elite QB, but then he actually gets worse.
Beat Jacksonville (11-5) - 13-10 - VY 78 yards 0 TDs 1 INT 47.9 Rating
The stats speak for themselves, he was lucky the run game was working Chris Brown 175 yards, Lendale White 66 yards and VY 22 yards and the games only TD. He won this one on the ground.
Beat New Orleans (7-9) - 31-14 - VY 164 yards 2 TDs 1 INT 97.5 Rating
This looks like it should by VY but the Tennessee D had 4 INTs 1 for a TD and a Fumble recovery VY had 50 yards or less yards on both his TD pass scoring drive. Many will argue that he should get credit for this one but fact is ANY starting NFL QB should score when given the ball with half the field.
Beat Atlanta (4-12) - 20-13 - VY 157 yards 0 TDs 3 INTs 34.5 Rating
He is lucky his D bailed him out by getting 2 INTs 1 for a TD and held Atlanta to 6 points (one of VYs picks was returned for their only TD) and 200 yards of total offense.
Beat Oakland (4-12) - 13-9 - VY 42 yards 0 TDs 0 INTs 50.3 Rating
I thought I was going to read he was injured in this game, he wasn't and that's horrid. His team bailed him out again Lendale White 133 rushing yards, Chris Henry 48 yards and a TD (VY only had 11 rushing yards). Defense had a fumble recovery and an INT
Beat Carolina (7-9) - 20-7 - VY 110 yards 0 TDs 2 INTs 36.5 Rating
Again bailed out Lendale White 100 yards rushing and a TD VY had 25 yards and a TD. Defense also held the Panthers to 191 yards and 2 turnovers and gave up a late game garbage TD.
Beat Houston (8-8) - 28-20 - VY 248 Yards 2 TDs 1 INT 99.9 Rating
This was a total team effort but I'll give VY the credit he had 3 TDs when you add in his rushing TD. He also had a fumble lost (2 turnovers total)
Beat Kansas City (4-12) - 26-17 - VY 191 yards 2 TDs 0 INTs 109.6 Rating
Titans D also stepped up getting 2 INTs and a fumble recovery but VY played well against the very bad Chiefs.
Beat New York Jets (4-12) - 10-6 - VY 166 yards 0 TDs 1 INT 60 Passer Rating
Lendale White had 103 yards rushing, Chris Brown had the only TD rushing and the D pitched in 2 INTs.
Beat Indianapolis (13-3) - 16-10 - VY 157 yards 0 TDs 0 INTs 103 Rating
This is one of the games that I know shouldn't count. First VY was injured in the second and had to leave. Second The Colts had clinched the division and pulled their starters early in the second quarter starting with Peyton Manning.
2007 Summary - I give VY credit for 4 wins although again, I'd like to say 3 because that Jacksonville game was won on the ground.
Beat Jacksonville (5-11) - 17-10 - VY 110 yards 1 TD 2 INTs 45.6 Rating
Again a bad stat line boosted by CJ in the screen game. 1 of his INTs was directly responsible for the Jacksonville TD. The Defense gets the credit they bailed him out with 7 sacks a fumble recovery, 2 INTs and held the Jags to 189 total yards.
2008 Summary - I'm not giving him credit for this win in 2008, he was bad in this game but the Jags were worse. The 2008 Titans defense was second only to the Steelers.
Beat Jacksonville (7-9) - 30-13 - VY 125 yards 1 TD 0 INTs 114.1 Rating
When you stomp a team I expect more than 125 yards and 1 TD. CJ was the star here 228 yards and 2 TDs, the D also had 2 picks.
Beat San Fran (8-8) - 34-27 - VY 172 yards 0 TDs 0 INTs 92.4 rating
CJ and the D did all the work again VY just didn't lose this game. CJ had 135 yards rushing 2 TDs the Defense had 3 INTs and 1 TD.
Beat Buffalo (6-10) - 41-17 - VY 210 Yards 1 TD 1 INT 90.4 Rating
This one was all CJ and the D too CJ had 132 yards 2 TDs and the Defense had 2 INTs for 2 TDs. VY managed the game and by that I mean he managed not to lose a massive lead.
Beat Houston (9-7) - 20-17 - VY 116 yards 1 TD 0 INT 84.7 Rating
CJ had 151 rushing yards VY had 73 with a lost fumble. I'll give him credit but this was pretty much all rushing.
Beat Arizona (10-6) - 20-17 - VY 387 yards 1 TD 0 INT 99.7 Rating
VY had a great game against one of the worst passing defenses in the league that year. He gets the credit but CJs 154 yards rushing and a TD were also a big part of why the passing game was so effective against one of the worst passing Ds in the league that year.
Beat St Louis (1-15) - 47-7 - VY 132 yards 1 TD 0 INTs 156.2 Rating
VY left half way through the second quarter so he doesn't get credit for this one CJ had 117 yards 2 TDs, the D had 5 INTs 1 for a TD and Collins had 154 yards passing and a TD all deserve credit before Young.
Beat Miami (7-9) - 27-24 (OT) - VY 236 Yards 3 TDs 1 INT 103.3 Rating
Great game all around D had 3 picks and a fumble recovery, CJ had 104 rushing yards. VY gets the credit it's one of the best games statistically he's ever had.
Beat Seattle (5-11) - 17-13 - VY 171 yards 0 TDs 1 INT 63.2 Rating
This goes to CJ 134 yards rushing 2 TDs, there is no argument here.
2009 Summary - This was a great year for Chris Johnson and the Titans D, VY didn't have to do much of anything. I give him credit for 3 wins.
Beat Oakland (8-8) 38-13 - VY 154 yards 2 TDs 0 INTs 142.8 Rating
Beat New York Giants (10-6) - 29-10 - VY 118 yards 1 TD 0 INTs 105.7 Rating
CJ had 125 yards 2 TDs and the D had 2 INTs and a fumble recovery. In my eyes any QB in the league could have managed this game so I'm not giving him the credit.
Beat Dallas (6-10) - 34-27 - VY 173 Yards 2 TDs 0 INTs 97.6 Rating
CJ had 131 yards 2 TDs, the D picked off Dallas 3 times this was a whole team effort. Dallas was the 7th worst team against the pass in 2010 He should have good numbers but I'll give him credit since he threw for 2 TDs.
Beat Jacksonville (8-8) - 30-3 - VY 61 yards 1 TD 0 INTs 142.5 Rating
He threw for a TD but was knocked out of the game 10 minutes in I'm not giving him credit for a game he didn't even finish a quarter in. CJ had 111 yards and a TD.
2010 Summary - I'm giving him credit for 2 wins here the rest of the games his team stepped it up and the ball was barely put in his hands, except to hand it off to CJ.
There is my breakdown, like it or hate it. It's my opinion so I'm sure people will argue one way or the other but the fact remains that he's beaten just 7 teams over .500 in his 30 wins (23%). Of his 30 wins I believe he was responsible for 14 wins [2006 (4) 2007 (4) 2008 (1) 2009 (3) 2010 (2)]. Also, I was generous with 2 of those 14 which were games he won with his legs.
VY was bailed out a lot by great Defensive play and a consistently stout running game. I sent this on to Foos to show him what I found and he was kind enough to do the analysis of the losses below. We both believed that VY would be responsible for quite a few of the losses.
I hope the best for VY now that he is an Eagle; I root for the name on the front not the name on the back. I will support him while he is here and if he can help us get a ring then great. I believe he came to the right place if he's looking to learn how to become a better QB and a better person. I just cannot understand while people believe he is somehow one of the best QBs in the league. Does he have potential? Sure, but so does Kevin Kolb and people were thrilled to send him packing. As a backup we could have worse, but let's not get it twisted, if Vick gets hurt there is a massive drop off from him to Young. I get that and we will be lucky if VY never sees the field this year.
Finally I'll end with this, VY's career stat line is almost identical to Alex Smiths, yet Alex Smith is regarded as a bust and one of the worst QBs in the league. Is that just because he doesn't have the W/L record of Young? That to me is ridiculous.
So, Whodie and I speak pretty regularly, and when talks began surfacing that the Eagles were looking to sign Vince Young as a backup, of course we decided to explore this avenue in depth. We both had a similar feeling that his value as a quarterback is severely overrated by the media, and especially fans, and were anxious to see the reaction from the fanbase. Not totally surprising, this move was met with a lot of optimism and not much criticism. However, the popular justification for this being a prudent signing was Young's career record. Just like pitchers in baseball, "career record" is a less than reliable stat to base one's evaluation of a quarterback. Again, after some discussion, and admittedly not many facts to go on, we both had a feeling that there was a good chance that Vince probably didn't have much to do with many of these 30 wins, and there was a good possibility that his poor play had a lot to do with the losses. Whodie looked into the wins (see above), and I tend to agree with his analysis. I just don't see how we can give so much credit to Young for "leading his team to victory" when the vast majority of the time it was a combination of the running game and superb defensive play that ultimately lead to a victorious outcome for the Titans. So, as to the other side of the coin, I'm going to look at his 18 losses and attempt to determine, without bias, where the responsibility for these losses should fall. I'm penning this before looking at the information, so there's a chance I'll finish this study and conclude that there were other circumstances most of the time. If that's the case, I'll freely admit it, but something tells me it won't be.
10/1 Cowboys (L) 14-45 Young 14/29 155 1 TD 2 Int 2 Fumbles (1 Lost)
Young's first professional start. Entering the fourth quarter, the Titans actually had a manageable deficit here, with the score standing at 28-14. I mean a 14 point 4th quarter comeback is difficult, at that point the game was clearly a lot closer than the final score. However, a Vince Young 4th quarter interception and also a lost fumble quickly ended any comeback hopes. Overall, his numbers aren't good, and also take into account that about 2/3rds of his passing yards came after the Cowboys extended their lead beyond 14, and they look worse. Young also had 3 yards on 5 carries! Slow down there, killer. Looking at the overall game, though, the Cowboys simply dominated. The Titans couldn't run, couldn't pass, and couldn't defend. I'm going to chalk this one up to team loss, but let's not kid ourselves here, Young didn't do anything to help the team attempt to win and also turned the ball over twice in the fourth quarter, allowing Dallas to extend their lead.
10/8 Colts (L) 13-14 Young 10/21 63 1 Int (Rush TD)
Actually a pretty close game here. Horrible numbers. 3 yards per passing attempt? Really? Young also collected 43 yards on 4 rushing attempts with a TD. So he's responsible for just over 100 total yards with a TD and an Int. On the surface, I'd be willing to call this a case of getting beat by a better team. But looking more into the stats, I found out that around 60 of Vince's 106 total yards came on the Titan's opening drive for a TD. If you remove the stats from their opening drive, he's got three quarters of nonexistent production, with incompletions, a turnover and general poor play. Had he been able to manufacture a drive that ended within the Colts' 30 at any point in 3 quarters, Tennessee wins this game. Sorry Vince, I'm hanging this one on you.
11/5 Jaguars (L) 7-37 Young 15/36 163 1 TD 3 Ints 1 Fumble Lost
Ok. Going into the fourth quarter the Titans were down 37-0, Young had 80 passing yards, 3 Ints, a lost fumble and 10 rushing yards on 3 attempts. He accumulated 8 of his completions, 80 passing yards and his TD in garbage time. Up til then, he was a turnover machine with no production. Loss to Vince.
11/12 Ravens (L) 26-27 Young 13/25 211 1 Int 8/39 Rushing TD
Another close game. Tennessee actually jumped out 26-7 on Baltimore. I can't hang this one solely on Young. He accumulated most of his stats early, but then the Ravens simply shut everything down. The turning point may have actually come as a result of bad play calling. Baltimore intercepted a pass inside the Titans 30 off of an option play. Vince didn't really do anything to help manufacture any kind of scoring over the last 2 and a half quarters, and clearly a field goal at any point would have sealed the game, but the Ravens simply shut everything down on Tennessee.
12/31 Patriots (L) 23-40 Young 15/36 227 2 Ints 2/29 Rushing TD
Cut to the chase. Tennessee was down 3 at the end of the 3rd quarter. 2 Vince Young 4th quarter Ints all but ended this game. Vince, it's on you.
2006 Summary - 3 VY Losses, 2 Not his fault
9/16 Colts (L) 20-22 Young 17/27 184 TD 5/53 Rushing 1 fumble lost
At first this looks like a team loss, doesn't it? Digging a little deeper, I'm going to have to disagree. Young had a pretty solid game up until the 4th quarter. Tennessee was down 2, had the ball with about 2 minutes to go and was driving, presumably for the winning score, right? Wanna guess where that fumble lost popped up? Yup. Vince coughed it up on the final drive. A few Indy kneel downs and the game was over. Sorry Vince.
10/14 Bucs (L) 10-13 Young 10/20 125 Int 3/6 Rushing Fumble lost
Vince didn't do anything. He left in the 3rd quarter down 10-0 with a quad strain. Kerry Collins came in and brought Tennessee back to tie the game, only to watch Jeff Garcia (!) march Tampa down on the final drive for a game winning field goal. The Titans ran for over 100 yards, Kerry Collins was the only reason the Titans had a chance to win in the fourth quarter. Young coughed up the ball twice. On you big fella.
11/11 Jags (L) 13-28 Young 24/41 257 Td 2 Int 8/52 Rushing
Outside of Young, the Titans had exactly 10 offensive yards. Not Young's fault.
11/19 Denver (L) 20-34 Young 26/41 305 1 TD 2 Int 11/74 Rushing TD
Outside of Young, the Titans had about 50 offensive yards, and 4 fumbles. Not winning like that. I realize he's got 2 ints here, but this was probably his career day at this point and his team was clearly not helping, offensively or defensively.
11/25 Bengals (L) 6-35 Young 19/31 246 Int 2/6 Rushing Fumble Lost
Total team shitstorm here. Probably could argue that turning the ball over twice isn't helping, and the fact that most of his passing yards came in the 4th down 29, but there was no running game, to speak of and their defense was useless. Team loss.
12/9 Chargers (L) 17-23 OT Young 13/21 121 2 Int 2/2 Rushing
Lendale White was carrying this team most of the game. And the Chargers actually build up a 17-3 lead in the 4th! Young completed 1 pass in the final 18 minutes of regulation and lead the Titans to a 3 and out on their drive in OT. The Chargers marched down for the winning score. Young contributed nothing of value to this game. The defense giving up a lead in the 4th quarter isn't helpful, but the fact that Young had 3 drives to at least kill some clock time and managed to hold onto the ball for a total of 3 minutes on those three drives is awful. What happened to the vaunted scrambling ability? Throw in the 2 ints and the lack of any TD help and things aren't looking good. Had Lendale White not run all over the Chargers D, it's an easy call that Young shit the bed. I'm still giving it to him here. A "winning qb" finds some way to sustain a drive for over a minute in the 4th quarter, and he had 3(!) chances.
2007 Summary - Bad Vince 3 Bad Team 3
12/28 Colts (L) 0-23 Young 9/13 55 5/25 Rushing
Yup that's the entire line. The Titans had 125 total yards of offense and ran 35 plays. What a frigging disgrace. Team loss.
2008 Summary - 0 Vince Loss 1 Team Loss
12/6 Colts (L) 17-27 Young 24/43 241 2 Td 1 Int 4/16 Rushing
He had a good game here. Not much else to say. Peyton was Peyton and the Titans turned the ball over via fumbles. None for Vince. Team loss.
12/25 Chargers (L) 17-42 Young 8/21 89 2 Ints 6/40 Rushing Fumble Lost
The game was pretty close in the first quarter. A second quarter interception let San Diego go into the locker room 21-10 instead of 21-14. An early 3rd quarter fumble lost let San Diego extend their lead to 28-10. A late 3rd quarter interception, and San Diego was up 35-10. Game was manageable until Young pretty much turned the ball over on 3 consecutive drives. By the way, QB rating of 11.9? Way to go, guy! On you Vince.
2009 Summary - 1 For Vince 1 For the Team
9/19 Steelers (L) 11-19 Young 7/10 66 2 Int 2/12 Rushing 2 Fumbles (1 Lost)
Vince was yanked after 3 quarters after his 3rd turnover down 19-3. Kerry Collins came in, led the Titans to a TD and a 2 pt conversion, got the ball back, but got stopped on the final drive attempting to tie the game. Collins almost pulled Vince's ass out of the fire here, but fell short. Chalk one up to Vince.
10/3 Broncos (L) 20-26 Young 17/28 173 1 TD 1/18 Rushing
Nothing to write home about. Not much of a rushing game. To be honest, this was just a game of "who sucks the least?" Team loss.
10/31 Chargers (L) 25-33 Young 10/21 253 2 TD 2/3 Rushing
Overall this may be his best game as a pro. Avoided turnovers all together, solid rating, 2 TDs. Injured in the 4th and taken out. Collins came in to finish, and did a decent job as well. Tennessee's defense just couldn't stop Rivers. Team loss.
11/21 Redskins (L) 16-19 Young 12/16 165 3/20 Rushing 1 Fumble Lost
What a tale of two awfully inept teams, huh? I'm going to go with team loss here, but those stats aren't anything showing me that he contributed in a manner that helped his team have a chance to win. Just a crazy game actually. As an unrelated note, Donovan McNabb had 380 yards passing. How the hell do you accumulate 380 passing yards and have 1 TD? Craziness.
2010 Summary - Bad Vince 1 Team Loss 3
Total ---- Vince Losses 8, Team Losses 10
Here's my thoughts on this exercise: Vince played the strongest roll in 8 of the 18 losses that he has on his record. From the other 10, there were a few that he played extraordinarily well, but for the most part, he just had passing yards in the mid 100's with some rushing thrown in. Even in team losses, most NFL quarterbacks routinely accumulate over 200 passing yards. Vince really doesn't do that very often. As for the blowout losses, it's very routine for quarterbacks to accumulate massive passing stats in the final quarter and a half when defenses switch to the prevent defense. Somehow Young doesn't. It doesn't matter what kind of game situation it is, but his career numbers seem to somehow sit comfortably in the mid 100's for passing yards. That's not an NFL quarterback, folks. As a few side notes, two things jump out at me: inconsistency and fumbles. Even looking through Whodie's games, I've never seen lines that constantly fluxuate anywhere between 60 passing yards for an entire game to extreme cases of 300 passing yards.
In closing, I just don't see it. To me, Young is a gifted athlete that is not a quarterback, and the main argument for picking him up is based on his "career record." I think it's pretty clear that those numbers really don't hold much water. Do with this what you will... But just remember, we are now one of these:
Away from this guy under center:
Don't get me wrong. I hope Andy can work the same magic he did with Vick in this case and I'll be the first to admit I was wrong if that happens, but I think he had a lot more to work with in Vick's case to being with. As the old saying goes, shit in - shit out.