It seems fair to ask whether the Green Bay Packers’ decision Monday to sign Vince Young to a one-year deal had more to do with their defense than their offense.
After all, in Aaron Rodgers the Packers have one of the premier passers in the league. A three-time Pro Bowler and the 2011 NFL MVP, Rodgers is a prototypical pocket passer who has completed 65.7 percent of his throws for his career.
Young, the 2006 offensive rookie of the year while with the Tennessee Titans, has connected on 57.9 percent of his throws and has more interceptions (51) than touchdown passes (46) for his career. He is not the first who comes to mind as someone who could keep the pass-happy Green Bay offense rolling in the event something happens to Rodgers.
Young can run, though. Or at least he could. He rushed for 552 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie and another 395 yards and three touchdowns the following season. In 30 games since he gained just another 512 yards and scored twice on the ground.
Still, the fact that the Packers will play San Francisco and Washington in the first two weeks of the season might explain the move.
The 49ers’ Colin Kapernick and the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III are among the most mobile quarterbacks in the league and their teams rely — sometimes heavily — on the spread option scheme, comparable to the one the University of Texas employed when Young became one of the most productive players in college football history. His ability to run the scout team in advance of those contests might serve the defense well for an organization that is considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
Green Bay had not formally announced the signing, which was widely reported by Monday afternoon.
The third overall pick in the 2006 draft, Young played five seasons with the Titans. He was 30-17 as a starter but was released following the 2010 season after a very public disagreement with then-coach Jeff Fisher during a game with Washington.
He spent 2011 primarily as a backup with Philadelphia, was in training camp with Buffalo last summer but was cut and sat out the season.