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I come not to bury Vince Young, but to praise him. Well, not really.
When last we saw our tragic hero, the Titans were winning
and VY was getting credit. As the season
has gone along, many commentators have begun to question Vince. His TD to INT ratio is an ugly 9:17. The Titans had a run where they lost four out
of five games, and are now only barely clinging to a playoff spot that once
seemed theirs. The question is: is it Vince’s fault? Through four games we showed that VY’s play
had little bearing on the Titans wins or losses, now through almost two full
seasons, is our analysis correct? Let’s
check some numbers:
Comp Att %
TDs INT Sacks
Att YPR TDs fumbles lost
The Titans were 1-0 when Young didn’t play at all. They are 8-6 when he does.
Comp Att % Yards YPA
TDs INT Sacks Rating
Rushes Att YPR TDs fumbles lost
What does this tell us?
It says that Vince plays BETTER when the Titans lose and worse when they
win. Huh. So what is the real cause for the Titans
success or failure? Their defense. When they win, they allow 14.6 PPG, scoring 20.1
(not including their best output of the year when VY didn’t play at Houston and the team put
up 38 without him). When they lose
however, they allow 25.8 PPG and average 14.3 on offense. There is some regression on offense in the
losses, but it’s the defense that really falters.
There is some evidence that Young has actually IMPROVED this
year as a quarterback. To this point, he’s
had almost the same number of attempts this year to last year (7 more this
year). He’s completing his passes at a
much better percentage (61.5-51.5), his rating is a tad higher (69.5-66.7), and
his YPA is up (6.6-6.2). While his DPAR numbers are basically flat, his DVOA on
footballoutsiders is much better. He
went from -8.1% per play to 11.9% this year.
In other words, last year he was basically 10% worse per play than the
average QB, this year, he’s about 10% better.
So, why was he praised this last year, and seen as a bust
this year? In fact, the only number to
have regressed for Young is his TD to INT ratio which has dropped from 12:13 to
9:17. The big reason the media is down
on him now is that his rushing numbers have dropped from 6.7 YPC and 7 TDs to 4.2
and 3 (just today, a 'scout' declared he must run the ball effectively for the Titans to win). This is due in part to the quad
injury he sustained earlier in the season, but it is also interesting to note
that in the Titans losses, Young ran at nearly the same YPC as he did last
year. That is to say on average, Young
rushing isn’t affecting the Titans wins and losses.
Last year he was Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowler. This year, he’s crap. The
numbers tell us that he's better now than he was then, but no one seems
to care. All because he isn’t running around so much. The truth about the Titans is that Vince Young
distracts us from the real factor in determining if they will win or lose, the
defense. VY did improve his passing
numbers over last season. He still isn’t
much more than an utterly average NFL QB, but he is listing in the right
Remember, we don't hate Vince Young.
We just weren't convinced that he was the reason the Titans
finished 8-8 last year, and we aren't convinced he's why they'll finish
9-7 this year. His play seems to attract a lot of attention,
without really affecting wins and losses.
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