Tennessee Titans  

 

With Young on his way out, Titans to explore all QB options

  • By Associated Press
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans are moving on without Vince Young, putting them back in the market for a new quarterback for just the third time since 1995.

And just like when the Titans added Steve McNair and later Young, the draft appears to be the team's best chance at filling the gaping hole with a possible lockout looming.

"We will explore all of the options that are available to us to solidify the quarterback position for the upcoming season," general manager Mike Reinfeldt said Wednesday when the Titans announced they will either trade or release Young.

Reinfeldt isn't talking any further until Titans owner Bud Adams decides on any coaching-staff changes he wants from Jeff Fisher.

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Right now, the draft is the Titans' only real option, as teams can just swap picks. Teams can't work trades of veterans until the new NFL year begins -- and that clock won't start until a new labor deal is reached.

And though Stanford's Andrew Luck is staying in school, NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt said Thursday the April draft is deep enough at quarterback that the Titans can quickly find help.

"I wouldn't say that the Titans' picture is bleak. I think probably what they did was best for the organization and will be for years to come because I think they'll find somebody," Brandt said. "It's not like you're shooting darts, and it's one in a million. These players are available."

The April draft is stocked with Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, Washington's Jake Locker and Arkansas' Ryan Mallett. Auburn's Cam Newton could turn pro. Brandt said Idaho's Nathan Enderle is very similar to Josh Freeman and could be available in the second round.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded up to draft Freeman in 2009, making him the third quarterback taken. Freeman led the Bucs to a 10-6 record this season, one year after their 3-13 campaign. Brandt pointed out that people questioned Freeman's resume when he was coming out of Kansas State.

Other quarterbacks who had immediate NFL success include Joe Flacco taking the Baltimore Ravens to the playoffs in three consecutive seasons and Matt Ryan winning 31 games with the Atlanta Falcons since being drafted. Brandt said more quarterbacks come out of college ready for the NFL because college teams are throwing the ball more than ever.

The Titans, having missed the playoffs in the last two seasons, just need to pick someone and put him to work with quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains, whom Brandt called one of the better unknowns in the NFL. Brandt also said the Titans have plenty to work with on a roster featuring left tackle Michael Roos, wide receiver Kenny Britt and running back Chris Johnson.

"You'll be surprised and shocked how fast your team comes back," Brandt said. "It's not like losing somebody. It's so much different than it was 10 or 20 years ago when quarterbacks didn't come out, and we didn't have the amount of quarterbacks in the National Football League that we have now."

If the Titans choose to go for a veteran, options will be limited and the price high with teams wanting to hold on to what they have.

The Denver Broncos seem ready to trade Kyle Orton for a second-round draft pick after committing to 2010 first-round pick Tim Tebow, and the veteran is under contract for 2011 costing $8.4 million.

Kevin Kolb could be trade bait with Michael Vick ahead of him in Philadelphia. However, the Eagles think highly of Kolb and are expected to ask for a first-round pick for the first quarterback ever to throw for 300 yards in his first two career starts.

Kolb is under contract for another year, but the Titans saw him up close when they beat him Oct. 24 with backup Kerry Collins.

Fisher said earlier this week that bringing back Collins is a possibility, not necessarily as a starter. Collins had his best performance with Tennessee in a 23-20 season-ending loss at Indianapolis, throwing for 300 yards and two touchdowns.

"He's still got time left," Fisher said.

The challenge of a lockout will be a team's inability to immediately start teaching a rookie quarterback the offense until a new labor deal is reached.

"So that might be March 6th. That might be June 1st. That might be Sept. 25. You never know," Brandt said. "So it's a precarious situation. But the thing you have to understand is that everybody's under the same rules so to speak. It's not that Tennessee is going to be penalized. It's anybody else that takes and hires a new coach."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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