Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher said at the NFL owners meetings Tuesday that the club has not given up on Vince Young, despite his disastrous 2008 season in which he lost his starting quarterback job.
Fisher reiterated at the meetings in Dana Point, Calif., much of what he has said about the quarterback position since the start of the off-season — that Kerry Collins was re-signed to be the Titans’ starter, but that Young still potentially has a future in Tennessee.
“He came in a month ago and said what do I have to do to earn my job back. Am I going to get a chance to? I said, ‘of course you will’,” Fisher said. “We’ll do everything we can to make you the best player we can.
“I believe he has benefited from the experience last year. We won’t know until he gets under center this fall, but I believe he’s benefited from it. I know he’s dedicated and wants to get better, wants to learn from his mistake and the things he saw Kerry do.”
Young’s knee injury and subsequent disappearance and bizarre behavior all contributed to the decision to stick with Collins as the team’s starter. A 13-3 record that was best in the NFL easily helped sway that decision as well.
“We re-signed Kerry clearly as our starter. As he indicated he really didn’t want to go back unless he had a chance to start. So we were happy to get him under contract,” Fisher said. “Vince is in a situation now where he will have to do everything he possibly can to earn his job back. That starts with the off-season commitment.”
Young, who spent much of last season in Austin, Texas, taking college courses, was at the Titans first day of off-season work and has been an active participant thus far.
With Young asking Fisher what he needed to do to regain the starting position, Fisher was quizzed Tuesday as to whether Young could actually get that opportunity with Collins now entrenched in the No. 1 role.
“What’s interesting about our business is you get to play the best players. So we are going to do that at every position,” Fisher said. “Kerry is returning as our starter. If for some reason Vince has a great camp and Kerry hits a wall, I’m talking about a hypothetical, but there is always that possibility. It’s clear Kerry is returning as our starter and Vince is going to continue to do what he did last year and that’s put himself in position to be the quarterback we drafted him to be.”
But an issue could be that Young might be running out of time — at least with the Titans — if he doesn’t re-emerge soon. With Collins signing a two-year, $15 million deal, Young would seemingly be a backup through at least 2010, barring an unforeseen development. Young’s own contract is set to expire in 2011.
The Titans are still planning to bring in a third quarterback — perhaps Patrick Ramsey, a free agent from Denver, who visited recently.
“We’ve always had three quarterbacks in camp, so yes there will be a third quarterback in camp. I would expect a veteran,” Fisher said.
Ramsey was reportedly deciding between offers from the Titans and New England Patriots. Other veteran quarterbacks with starting experience on the market include Byron Leftwich and Rex Grossman.