Do signs point to Titans' QB switch?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at 5:46pm
The fans are getting restless with a winless season. / Mike Strasinger for The City Paper

Citing “competitive advantage,” Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher delayed until Thursday the announcement of whether Vince Young would replace Kerry Collins as the starting quarterback Sunday against Jacksonville.

Earlier this week, quarterback decisions by San Francisco, Carolina and Tampa Bay were all publicly announced. But for an 0-6 Titans team that has become increasingly less competitive in the passing weeks, Fisher was looking for any advantage he might get.

“I’m going to assume that as long as we can keep this thing a mystery the better chances we have. There’s clearly a difference in skill-sets between the two quarterbacks,” Fisher said.

Fisher would not say who his starter would be, only fueling further speculation that a change might be forthcoming. In previous weeks, Fisher had steadfastly stood behind Collins as the starter. But that changed on Monday after the bye after reports of owner Bud Adams wanting Young to be the starter.

The Titans did not make Collins or Young available to the media on Wednesday, and both spent time working with the offense in practice. Also, requests by at least three reporters to speak to offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger were postponed until Thursday by Titans officials.

They did make one decision at quarterback on Wednesday, signing former Southern Cal standout John David Booty to their practice squad. Booty, who had been with the Minnesota Vikings practice squad earlier this season, handled most of the scout team duties in practice.

Young had handled those chores for the past three weeks since Patrick Ramsey was released on Oct. 3.

While Titans players did not definitively say they knew a quarterback switch was in the works, some said there was an inkling of it.

“I shouldn’t say I sense it, but it’s in the air right now,” receiver Justin Gage said. “I’m not sure how they’re gonna play it out or what’s gonna go on, but as far as receivers we’ve just got to prepare for either quarterback to be out there.”

Tight end Bo Scaife, one of Young’s closest friends on the team, said if his old Texas teammate gets the call he is sure to be excited.

“I know he’s excited to play. Anyone who hasn’t been in the game for a while, if he gets an opportunity to get in the game, is going to be excited to play,” Scaife said. “I know he’s been waiting patiently and I know he’s excited, and if the chance comes, I know he’s going to make the most of it.”

As for whether Young, who lost the starting job last year after a knee injury and a whole saga in which he had to be coaxed back into the game after an interception, is ready to go, Titans players said only he can answer.

“I hope he’s ready. Only Vince knows if he’s ready,” Scaife said. “He’s looked good in practice. Like I said, only Vince knows if he’s ready, because practice is different than the game.”

Linebacker Keith Bulluck had a similar sentiment in hoping Young is ready if or when the call comes.

“You see where his locker is. You have to ask him that. He’s got to be ready,” Bulluck said. “You can go out there and practice and many people out there look great in shorts, but when it’s time to go, they’re not ready to go. Like I said, I have confidence in both of our quarterbacks. Right now, Kerry is our starter, and I’m fine with that.”

Teammates say they believe Young learned from the saga on and off the field in 2008 that cost him his starting job in the first place, and that they have moved past that.

“If that’s what guys are worrying about, then they’re definitely not focused,” Bulluck said.

Players say that situation hopefully was a learning experience for Young.

“I think we’ve moved on from it, probably Vince more than anybody. But again, we’re all football players, and we’re all called to do a job on the field. He’s not an exception,” center Kevin Mawae said.

As for the thought of Adams’ potentially calling for lineup changes, the players say they have no control over such things.

“It’s the owner’s team. If a guy has an $800 million team, he does what he wants,” Mawae said. “Again, I think he’s gonna leave that up to Jeff.”

Added Bulluck, “I still have faith in Kerry Collins. So that’s our guy. No one in this locker room, no one on this team said anything about that. That call came from the head.”


7 Comments on this post:

By: nature on 10/28/09 at 4:45

The QB question is not the biggest problem. Receivers like Bo Scaife are the problem. How is Scaife able to keep his job? He hasn't been able to hold on to the ball since the beginning of this season! And remember if the Saints can go undefeated this season, then there is hope for all. Way to go Saints!

By: johnmcwhirter on 10/28/09 at 6:06

The question seems not should there be a change in quarterbacks; but instead ins't it about time
that Jeff Fisher be releaved? When a head coach ins't effective anymore; there needs to be a
new coach take his place. This seems to be the only way that the team can move forward in a
positive manner; as well as giving the fans a chance for a winning team. The way the team is playing at this time; they couldn't beat a high school team. All of the good players were let go
years ago when Fisher pinned his hopes on two players; McNair and George. In paying them
the most; he had to let all the others good players go and now see where the team is. When is
Bud Adams going to wake up and make the necessary change. I do hope soon because it's
going to get to the point that the Titan's couldn't give away game tickets.

By: niabarb1 on 10/28/09 at 6:35

NO need to change QB, it's not Kerry Collins fault... it throws it where it's suppose to go. straight in the others players HANDS it's not his fault they cannot catch the ball. What is he suppose to do go hand it to them. From what i've seen .Vince is not doing any better . LEAVE Kerry where he is, This problem is not Kerry's FAULT...

By: jwk6179 on 10/28/09 at 8:34

I agree. The problem is not at QB, it is with the WRs, TEs, RBs and the Defense. Kerry Collins is not the one dropping very catchable balls, that Bo Scaife, HIGH PRICED FREE AGENT NATE WASHINGTON and 1ST ROUND DRAFT CHOICE KENNY BRITT. Kerry Collins is not the one fumbling the football and ending drives, that's Len Dale White and Alge Crumpler. Kerry Collins is not the one leads the league in carries resulting in no or negative yardage while looking for his opening to break a 40 yard run or more, that's Chris Johnson. And Kerry Collins is not the one that has given up 37, 31 and 59 points the last three games, that's the Titans Defense. Does starting Vince Young CORRECT ALL THOSE PROBLEM??

By: TITAN1 on 10/29/09 at 4:53

Kerry might not be all of the problem but he is part of it and he is not the future. IMO, VY needs to start the rest of the season so we can see if he is the future. If he plays like the quarterback we drafted then we draft defense with our first pick. If he bombs out, then we get a QB.

By: TitansFan035 on 10/29/09 at 7:23

Bo Scaife, has became a butterfinger tightend, all those drops aren't going to give him a big pay day, why? Because he drops to many freaking balls!! Nate Washingtong, I don't know how in the hell he got all that money? I bet Marvin Harrison, with 4 mill would have done a better job than any of our wide outs............. Alge Crumpler big a$$ skills are gone, he can only block for us. The future of this team Britt and Cook need to step up big time..We need to keep running the ball more with Johnson and White..Heimi how in the hell 3and2 you going to pass the freaking ball? Give it to Lendale, if he can't get you 2 yds, then he don't need to be on the team... Now Vince, needs to stay in the pocket and look up safetys and corners, if nothing is there then take off. But please don't throw it to the wrong jersey dude!! Skerry get you a fifth of Bourbon and enjoy the game but be ready in case Vince stink it up!

By: courier37027 on 10/29/09 at 3:14

No, no, no. Bo Scaife was the same player Tery McCormick hailed as a take charge kind of receiver. He would be a natural leader on and off the field . Rookies would find themselves at the feet of Scaife, absorbing every bit of wisdom he would grant to those wanting to learn. Titans did not need to draft a receiver because defense, led by locker room force to be recokoned with Keith Bulluck would improve on that 13-3 record.

Leaders are easy to find when times are good. All this leadership talk and locker room bravado McCormick was hailing pre-season somehow disappeared. Even Jevon Kearse can tell, while driving away from the stadium, this is a team in shambles.