CANTON, Ohio — Vince Young appeared to pass the first test in what could be a make-or-break preseason for the Tennessee Titans quarterback.
Young had some ups and downs, throwing an interception to kill his first series, but also enjoyed success converting a fumble recovery by rookie Gerald McRath into a Titans touchdown drive, showing nice touch on a 5-yard fade route to Paul Williams.
In all, Young finished 5 of 10 for 39 yards passing with the one touchdown and one interception in five series of work in relief of starter Kerry Collins.
“Everything was good. I was getting the guys out of the huddle on time and didn’t have any delay of games,” Young said. “That was pretty much my whole goal to manage the game, get us out of the huddle and get us in the right formation. There were a couple of throws that I could take back, but that’s OK.”
Young on the interception made a nice tackle on Leodis McKelvin, and Titans coach Jeff Fisher explained that receiver Lavelle Hawkins ran the wrong route. Hawkins broke his route inside, and the throw went outside right into McKelvin’s awaiting arms.
“The receiver ran the wrong route, but he showed he could tackle,” Fisher said.
Young appeared unfazed by the interception. Last year, he appeared not to want to re-enter the season opener in Jacksonville after an interception.
“It happens, a lot of mental mistakes by some of the guys. I’m going to get hit,” Young said. “Things happen, but you just have to play through it and keep on going to the next play and keep my confidence up. Take it one play at a time. I feel good about what happened.”
His play and demeanor Sunday night looked like a move in the right direction.
“It’s happening. I know everybody wants me to go out and be perfect, but it’s not happening like that. You can’t just jump into it. You’ve got to get back into it,” Young said. “I’m happy not only for myself but for my teammates. We all finished that drive with a touchdown. The fact is, we’re the second team guys and just to see everybody doing what they’re supposed to be doing and executing the play, that’s the happiest part of it.”
For the 50th anniversary celebration of the American Football League, the Titans debuted their Houston Oilers throwback uniforms from the 1960 season.
Titans players liked the look of the new/old uniforms.
“We looked good. The Tennessee Titans look good in whatever we wear, but I really think the baby blue made us look faster. We were like a blur out there,” nickelback Vincent Fuller said.
Defensive end Dave Ball said he is partial to that color anyway, having worn a similar shade in college at UCLA.
“The baby blue is very special to my heart, since I played at UCLA. I love the baby blue,” Ball said.
In addition to the players, coaches wore white shirts with the blue oil derrick logo, and owner Bud Adams was present wearing baby blue pants and a red jacket.Scratched
Eight Titans players did not play in the Hall of Fame Game, including starting middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch and punter Craig Hentrich.
Tulloch given time off from practice on Friday after the full pad practice on Thursday, but Titans coach Jeff Fisher indicated that they were backed down.
Former starter Ryan Fowler got the nod at middle linebacker, while A.J. Trapasso, who replaced Hentrich, had a 40-yard fake punt run for a touchdown.
Other Titans not playing include backup linebacker Josh Stamer, wide receiver/kick returner Mark Jones as well as receiver Kenny Britt, linebacker Colin Allred and defensive end Jacob Ford, who were declared out earlier in the week.
Nick Harper was announced as not starting in the game, but was in on the first series.
Center Kevin Mawae is not able to play since he is still on the active PUP list.
In addition, the only injury appeared to be fullback/tight end Casey Cramer, who injured his shoulder on a special teams play, but said afterwards that he was fine.
Because of the shortage at linebacker, Ryan Fowler played nearly the whole way at middle linebacker before Stanford Keglar finished up.
The pre-game video at Fawcett Stadium showed photographs of all the former NFL players who have died in the past year. The final picture was of former Titans quarterback Steve McNair, who was shot and killed by his girlfriend on July 4.
Two young boys accompanied the players to the center of the field for the coin toss, wearing McNair jerseys, albeit Baltimore Ravens McNair jerseys.
Speaking of McNair tributes, the Titans unveiled their No. 9 decals for the game, and coaches and team personnel wore No. 9 lapel pins as well.
The Titans are expected to have a moment of silence and video tribute to McNair before the start of Saturday’s preseason home opener against Tampa Bay. More tributes for McNair will take place when the Titans host the Houston Texans on Sept. 20 to open the regular season.
After the game, Young donned a McNair blue Oilers jersey when addressing the media in the locker room. He wore that same jersey for the Titans tour of the Hall of Fame on Saturday evening.
“That’s my father figure. I felt it was just right. I wanted to walk around and show it, and his jersey will be in here one day,” Young said.
Good and bad
When Titans rookie quarterback Alex Mortensen completed a pass to Rodney Ferguson for his first professional completion, his father, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen briefly clapped in the press box, as did some others who were around congratulating him.
There was no clapping when the younger Mortensen’s second pass was intercepted by Reggie Corner and returned 26 yards for a touchdown.
Patrick Ramsey, who had exited on the series before, returned for the next series at quarterback and finished the game for Tennessee.