On the eve of the Tennessee Titans biggest game of the year against the Pittsburgh Steelers, I have a word of advice for Titans head coach Jeff Fisher— put in Vince Young now. I know it may sound crazy for a 12-2 team to be looking to make a quarterback change on the brink of the playoffs.
But V.Y brings everything to the table (grit, running ability, ability to avoid the rush, and rallying his teams) that veteran Kerry Collins cannot. Sure Collins (only 11 TDs to 7 INTs so far in ’08) was the glamour story of the beginning part of the 2008 NFL season as the Titans went undefeated for the season’s first 11 weeks. But recently in losses to the New York Jets and Houston Texans, the one-time Pro Bowl quarterback in 14 season has looked like the same player that flamed out for the Panthers, Saints, Giants and Raiders when the pressure was on.
The Texans loaded the box with eight and sometimes nine defenders as they dared the graybeard Collins to beat them. The former NFL bad-boy responded with a 15/33, 181 yards, 0 touchdown and 1 interception performance that made everyone remember why four other franchises gave up on the error prone Collins (179 INTs in his career).
My advice for Fisher and the Titans is to follow the lead of the Minnesota Vikings, who are ascending back into the playoff race after replace journeyman veteran quarterback Gus Frerotte with playmaker Tarvaris Jackson. T-Jack has been the catalyst for the Vikings leading them to two straight wins and on the brink of clinching the NFC North while not throwing any interceptions.
Wake-up because the blitz happy Steelers are coming to town and Young’s legs would be essential in escaping the NFL’s most feared pass rush – 47 sacks for an NFL ranking of #2 in the category. The playoffs are approaching too fast and Collins numbers in the postseason — 6 games, 115-199, 1275 yards, 12 TD, 10 INTs and a rating of 76.1 — show a guy waiting for a fall.
It has a good season for the Titans and Collins, but in the end V.Y’s playmaking skills are the only thing that will keep teams from focusing on running backs Chris Johnson and LenDale White, especially in the playoffs where teams work overtime to take away an opponent’s strengths.