Titans QB Young's recent actions, decisions show signs of maturity

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Vince Young has become very serious about his NFL career.

He just switched from agent Major Adams, the family friend who negotiated his current six-year, $58 million contract, to Tom Condon, whose client list includes Peyton and Eli Manning and LaDanian Tomlinson. The timing is perfect because Young has two years left on his current deal.

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Young said Thursday that he researched the move with help from his girlfriend and people he called experts close to him. Young also talked to another quarterback from the class of 2006, Matt Leinart, and heard nothing but appreciation for what Condon provides.

"To finish my legacy and my career, I just had to make a decision on my own," Young said. "It's something I had to do for VY only."

On paper, Young, a former No. 3 overall selection, easily can be considered the most successful of the three quarterbacks drafted among the first 11 picks of 2006, if gauged by his 26-13 record as a starter. He also led the Titans to the 2007 playoffs and came up one game short of improbable postseason berths when coming off the bench as a rookie and again in 2009 after winless starts by the team.

But Young remains a quarterback with a lot left to prove, despite the Titans paying his $4.25 million bonus in March and $7.5 million due in salary for 2010.

Young was a backup a year ago at this time to veteran Kerry Collins, but he got his job back because owner Bud Adams gave it to him after an 0-6 start to the season. Young helped the Titans rebound with eight wins in the final 10 games, but now the quarterback must show consistency and improvement in his fifth NFL season.

Young started the final 10 games of 2009, and his 82.8 passer rating easily was the best of his first four seasons. He threw for 1,879 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Young's best game as a passer came Nov. 29, when he rallied the Titans to a 20-17 victory over Leinart's Arizona Cardinals. Young drove Tennessee 99 yards in the final 2 minutes, 37 seconds before finding Kenny Britt in the back of the end zone for the game-winning TD pass. Young finished with a career-best 387 passing yards.

With Young starting, the Titans ranked fifth in the NFL at 27 points per game, seventh at 375.8 yards total offense and 12th for highest team passer with an 86.8 rating. Credit for the team's huge offensive improvement often goes to Chris Johnson, whose run to 2,006 yards was fueled by him topping 100 yards in each of those 10 games.

That might be why Young has been a regular in the Titans' offseason program, working with coaches to sharpen his skills and improve weaknesses, like his accuracy when throwing to his left. He also added muscle to his chest and arms, though he said he stays around 233 pounds.

Young has studied more film and worked harder with offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger and quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson. Young also is paying some of the costs to bring receivers down to Houston later this offseason to further work on their chemistry.

Young also is maturing off the field. He turns 27 on Tuesday, and he and his girlfriend's first child together is due in July. The combination has Young feeling much more comfortable and able to focus on his job.

"I just go out there and take care of my responsibilities as a quarterback," he said. "Take care of my assignments, knowing my mental game (and) that everything is up to par to where I need to be."

How much the Titans expand the passing game this season will depend on how much Young improves. For now, Heimerdinger likes what he sees, especially how Young handles complicated play-calls in the huddle and his decision-making at the line of scrimmage.

Coach Jeff Fisher said Young is the Titans' quarterback and they aren't concerned about his future, not coming off an 8-8 season.

"We've got to do much better than we did last year, and he's going to be a big part of it," Fisher said. "If the football team does better, then Vince does better, and we're all happy."

Fisher turned Thursday's minicamp session into nearly an hour of an offseason game called "Powerball" that combines flag football and a bit of basketball. The reason? A nice break from spending Wednesday cleaning up a flooded neighborhood.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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