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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Johnson: Young perseveres, earns Adams' praise

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

(Photo)
Tennessee's Vince Young (10) tries to elude Cardinal linebacker Gerald Hayes' attempt to bring him down in the open field.
(T-G Photo by Jimmy Jones)
I've patiently waited five weeks to write this column about Tennessee Titan quarterback Vince Young.

I must admit that I was one of those who thought he might never make it as a NFL quarterback after the events of last season.

With that said, I'll give credit where credit is due.

With his effort, attitude and performance over the past five weeks, he's made a believer out of me.

How can you argue with his numbers?

Since Titans owner Bud Adams let it be known that he wanted Young to be the starting quarterback after Tennessee's 0-6 start, he's led the team to five straight wins.

Along the way, Young has put up some pretty impressive numbers.

Young won his ninth straight start and improved to 23-11 in his career by driving the Titans 99 yards on 18 plays in the final 2:37 in Tennessee's win over Arizona Sunday afternoon. He converted three fourth downs on that final drive, including the final to rookie Kenny Britt in the back of the end zone for the game winner with no time on the clock.

He threw for a career-high 387 yards passing with the majority of those while standing in the pocket.

When asked if his performance thus far this season should satisfy his skeptics, Young responded, "I love everybody. I love my haters. I love the fans who love me. I mean, I don't really focus into that. Everybody has their own opinion. Sometimes, they are right. Sometimes, they help me focus and see that yeah, I really do need to get better at this thing or that."

The time he spent sitting on the bench last year seems to have helped him mature, refocus and improve his skills.

This season he has completed 83-of-132 passes for 1,010 yards with four TDs and a pair of interceptions. He has a quarterback rating of 90.2

That's not a bad quarterback rating considering Brett Favre leads the NFL with a 112.1, followed by Drew Brees (105.8), Aaron Rodgers (104.9) and Peyton Manning (102.5).

Inside the Titan locker room after the game, Adams was surrounded by a number of reporters and he informed us that he's not surprised the success Young is experiencing.

(Photo)
Wide receiver Kenny Britt (18) is mobbed by his Titan teammates after his game-winning touchdown catch with no time left on the clock against the Cardinals.
(T-G Photo by Jimmy Jones)
"Vince has played like I thought he would play. To do what he did today, very few quarterbacks could do what was done out there," Adams said. "I brought him in back in '06 to be our quarterback and he's going to be it for a long time."

There's no doubt that Young has the support of the owner and he's slowing but surely gaining the support his coaches, teammates and the media.

If the Titans keep on winning he'll soon win back the support of the fans.

Tennessee tight end Bo Scaife knows Young as good as anyone as the two were teammates at the University of Texas as well.

"I can't say enough about Vince Young. Over the past year and these past five weeks, he's shown us a lot and I think there's a lot more to come."

-- Gary Johnson is a Times-Gazette sports writer. He can be reached at gjohnson@t-g.com.

Gary Johnson
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