Well, he better because time is running out for Young to convince the Titans the 2006 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year is worth keeping around.
The Titans hit the field Wednesday for their first open session this offseason, and every move Young makes is being watched closely. Kerry Collins is back as the starter with a two-year deal, the Titans signed Patrick Ramsey for 2009 and Young is scheduled to count approximately $14 million against the salary cap in 2010 – a lot of money for a backup QB.
Young, who is under contract for three more seasons, said he is focusing on football and leaving his contract to agent Major Adams and the Titans.
“My job is to be here knowing what’s going on, being attentive, being visible in the locker room, working out and taking care of my responsibilities as quarterback,” said Young, who turns 26 on May 18. “That’s pretty much what I have to do. All the business part, I leave that to the guys upstairs and Major … Right now I’m just focused on football.”
Young was the Titans’ starter until he sprained a knee in the season opener last year just after apparently refusing to return to a game because fans had booed his second interception. The third overall draft pick in 2006 was relegated to backing up Collins, a spot cemented when the Titans signed Collins to a new deal in February.
Titans coach Jeff Fisher repeatedly has called Young the franchise’s future at quarterback. But the coach also wanted Collins back as his starter following an NFL-best 13-3 record in 2008, and that’s what produced a deal featuring $8.5 million in guaranteed money for the veteran.
Young met with Fisher early in the offseason, a meeting the coach described as Young asking what he had to do to start again. Young said he wanted to meet with Fisher to share his thoughts and prove he is maturing.
“I feel like for them to understand that you are growing up you must speak your mind and let them know what’s going on. That’s basically what I told him. I don’t want him to give me anything. I just want to come and take care of my responsibilities and earn everything, that what’s given me is that what I earn. That’s basically what I told him,” Young said.
Teammates say Young hasn’t missed a day of the offseason, a change from a year ago when he had returned to the University of Texas to work on finishing his degree. That coincided with the hiring of offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, and Young commuted back and forth to work on learning the new offense.
Fisher called Young’s work great this offseason and a non-issue. The key to Young’s further development? More playing time, which Young will get in the preseason with Tennessee having five games.
“And just a better understanding. The more reps he gets, the better he’s going to be,” Fisher said.
Young looked better throwing the ball Wednesday. When one ball was intercepted by Ryan Fowler, Young tapped his chest, taking blame for the pick.
Fullback Ahmard Hall and tight end Bo Scaife played with Young in college at Texas where he led the Longhorns to a national title. Hall said he found lots of fan support for Young during the team’s annual caravan, support he shared with the quarterback.
“I was getting a lot of energy that everyone was totally in support of Kerry. They support Kerry as the starter, but they still support Vince also. I think he’ll be ready when the time comes. He gets that opportunity again, he’ll definitely be ready to play,” Hall said.
Notes: The Titans have an enclosed practice field, which they used Wednesday because of heavy rain. Fisher said their bubble is very different from the one that collapsed last weekend in Dallas. He also said Tennessee’s is inspected yearly with the next inspection due in June. … Linebacker Keith Bulluck and defensive tackle Tony Brown were excused from the session for personal reasons. Defensive ends Jevon Kearse and Jacob Ford and center Kevin Mawae all sat out. Mawae is recovering from offseason surgery to repair a tendon in his right arm.