Is it over?
That's the question that comes to mind when viewing Vince Young's career prospects.
Fueled by growing concerns about his character, work ethic and leadership ability, the Tennessee Titans are set to release or trade the sixth-year quarterback when the league year commences, and there has been little buzz regarding teams inquiring about his services.
The lack of interest is surprising in a league in which washed-up veterans (Marc Bulger and Matt Hasselbeck) garner significant interest, while underachieving starters (Chad Henne and Alex Smith) retain their jobs.
Young is 30-17 as a starter (Titans are 15-18 without him) and is coming off one of the best seasons of his career as a passer. He completed 59.9 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns and only three interceptions. His passer rating of 98.9 would rank behind only Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, and Michael Vick provided he had enough attempts last season.
Young is an athletic playmaker most effective when working on the perimeter. He specializes in generating big plays with his feet and arm, and is at his best when improvising outside of the pocket. He is an outstanding deep-ball passer, but his unorthodox throwing motion and sloppy footwork affect his touch and accuracy on short and intermediate throws. While he has made significant strides in this area, his unrefined mechanics can result in errant throws from the pocket.
From a mental standpoint, he shows decent anticipation and awareness as a passer, but doesn't appear to have a great feel for reading complex coverage. Pre-snap disguises and zone blitzes give him problems, and his turnovers are often the result of being fooled by coverage.
When working off play-action, however, he has a better feel for coverage and shows the ability to connect the dots. He will comfortably push the ball up the field or drop it into the hands of an open receiver on a deep comeback.
Granted, Young's style of play certainly isn't suited for all systems. He lacks the skill set, patience and polish to thrive in a quick-rhythm system like the West Coast offense. Yet, his combination of running skills and deep-ball efficiency makes him an ideal fit in vertical passing attacks built to complement a strong running game.
If a team can get a handle on whether the concerns about Young's maturity, dedication and work ethic are more perception than reality, it might land a quarterback capable of helping rediscover its winning ways.
Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins' running game declined significantly a season ago, but the addition of Young would lead to an instant surge in production. From acting as the triggerman in the "Wildcat" to providing hidden yardage on scrambles and bootlegs, he would create more room for the Dolphins' runners. Also, the presence of Brandon Marshall on the outside would give Young a true No. 1 receiver for the first time in his career.
Buffalo Bills: Chan Gailey's previous success with Kordell Stewart and Tyler Thigpen would make the addition of Young an intriguing scenario. Gailey loves to build his system around the talents of his triggerman, so Young might find comfort working within the Bills' wide-open scheme. Although Ryan Fitzpatrick has been productive as the team's starter over the past two seasons, the chance to add another explosive option could help the team compete in the tough AFC East.
Oakland Raiders: Al Davis loves adding former first-round picks to his roster, so Young's pedigree would place him squarely on Oakland's radar. Hue Jackson is a masterful motivator capable of pushing the right buttons to maximize Young's talent. With the implementation of a power-based scheme with a vertical passing game, the marriage between Young and the Raiders could be perfect.
Philadelphia Eagles: After developing Michael Vick into a potent pocket passer, the Eagles have a proven blueprint for assimilating athletic quarterbacks into their system. Young's unique talents would not only provide the team with a Vick-like backup capable of stepping in and executing the scheme, it would also provide Andy Reid with another talented project to develop.
Green Bay Packers: Ted Thompson is a Ron Wolf disciple, and he wouldn't be afraid to bring Young in for a look. Although Young isn't necessarily a great fit in the Packers' system, Mike McCarthy once developed Aaron Brooks into a quality starter. McCarthy might be willing to invest the time to see if he could refine Young's game. If Young takes to the coaching and flashes during the preseason, he could be a valuable trade pawn to use for future draft picks.