Young and the Restless

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December 13, 2006
Young and the Restless

by Bob Hulsey

If the axiom is true that "youth is wasted on the young", it seems Vince Young, like most youths, is too busy to notice. Since the time folks realized what he could do with a football, Vincent’s life has been a blur – from Houston’s Madison High School to the University of Texas to Heisman runner-up to National Champion to high NFL Draft choice to Tennessee Titan to starting quarterback.

It’s truly difficult to classify this unique football talent. He’s not the waterbug quarterback Michael Vick. He’s not the scrambling Fran Tarkenton nor the run-for-effect Steve Young or the run-for-the-sidelines David Carr. Vince runs by design, but he also runs almost hoping plays will break down so he can ad-lib like few football players before him.

Yet there is something more to him. When I check other boards, I read comments that attempt to describe what defies description. Vince Young has "it", they say.

He makes plays. They’re not always pretty and certainly not always by design but Young gets you to believe he’ll make enough plays to win the game, whatever it takes. Sunday’s overtime scramble for the game-winning touchdown is a perfect example. Whatever good or bad he did before that moment was prologue. All most will remember is that Vince pulled it out when the game was on the line.

I think any Steel Blue hopes that either Young or fellow phenom Reggie Bush will be total busts in the NFL have been shot down. They will not be the next Ryan Leaf or Ki-Jana Carter. Texan fans need to come to grips with that. We can add Vince and Reggie to the wistful glances we give Julius Peppers and Derrick Johnson. If only.

But keep in mind this is just the start of their careers. Who knows what success or failure lies ahead? David Carr had a heck of a debut too, remember?

Texan fans don’t want to hear about that. They’ve waited five years just to get another NFL team and five more years while that team spun their wheels and passed up superstars for mere mortals. To them, the face of David Carr reflects their fears of sports impotency and humiliation. They want to go out in their blue and red gear and wag their fingers at every Cowboy fan, Saint fan and Titan fan that gets in their face. Only they can’t until the product on the field gives them something to boast about.

I feel your pain. Patience for more Texan bungling is indeed thin. But the constructive solution is to recognize shortcomings and address them. That began with the overhaul of the coaching staff and the front office. We, as fans, need to let the new regime have time to build the club the right way. The past can’t be undone but the future can still be salvaged.

Speaking of Carr, the question needs to be asked if he has lost the confidence of either the coaches or his teammates. If he has, it’s time to begin openly searching for a successor. If he hasn’t, I’d call off the tar and pitchforks for one more year. There’s no question that Carr has been better this season than he looked last year, and Gary Kubiak deserves the chance to develop David one more season, hopefully behind a healthy and effective offensive line for the first time in Carr’s pro career.

Carr came into the league with "it" but somehow lost "it" under the flood of sacks, fumbles and defeats. He’s not an egotist and that may actually be his worst trait. The "it" guys have a chest-thumping attitude that overcomes what others think is impossible. Yet Carr has been surrounded by coaches that wanted him to manage the game, not win the game. Every mistake made them even more hesitant to take a chance.

If we are ever going to get the Carr we were promised back in 2002, we need him to air it out and take some chances. If the Texans can ever build a solid offensive line, Carr has the weapons (including Jerome Mathis stretching the field) to drive defensive backs crazy. But they’ll never know until they give David the keys to the Hummer and make him drive until he finds "it" again. Or until they conclude that "it" has left him for good.

For 2007, Kubiak needs to beef up the line and let Carr go deep. Do whatever it takes to fix the front wall in free agency so the offense doesn’t break down. The defense can be fixed through the draft. The offense can’t wait for more rookies to develop. Texan fans don’t have the patience to sit through another year of slow progress.

That isn’t necessarily fair but it is the reality. The consequence of passing on Bush and Young has left Kubiak no choice but to grow the offense in a hurry, with or without David Carr, or lose what is left of the dwindling Texan fan base.

Bob Hulsey suggests that they soon get Mario Williams into the "heavy" goal line formations if for no other reason than to let him score a few times and silence his critics.

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