The Eagles continue to be a franchise willing to take risks.
That was my first thought when I woke up to the news that the team has agreed to a one-year deal with quarterback Vince Young, as reported by NFL Network's Albert Breer.
We saw it back in 2004 when the Eagles acquired Terrell Owens, despite questions about his personality in San Francisco. The Birds of course got to a Super Bowl before things blew up and T.O. was sent packing.
A couple years ago, they surprised everyone by taking a chance on Michael Vick. Now, he's arguably the face of the franchise and the team's starting quarterback.
Last offseason, despite popular opinion that they wouldn't trade Donovan McNabb within their own conference, never mind their own division, the Eagles sent him to the Redskins for a pair of picks.
And now, Vince Young. A quarterback who kept Titans fans entertained for five years and won a lot of football games (Tennessee was 30-18 in games he started). But also a quarterback who frustrated Titans coaches and fans with a perceived lack of professionalism.
I have been following the Titans from afar like everyone else, but here's what Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean had to say about Young's release yesterday:
Young thrilled fans with his play at times, but also frustrated coaches and teammates at times with his inconsistency. As a Titan he was 30-18 as a starter, went to two Pro Bowls and was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2006.
But his volatile relationship with former coach Jeff Fisher came to a head after a game against the Redskins last season, when Young cussed out the coach in front of the team. The following week the Titans put Young on injured reserve because of a thumb injury that required surgery.
Earlier in the offseason, Wyatt wrote about Young missing meetings and provided more details on his issues with the coaching staff.
But after doing their homework, the Eagles apparently feel like Philadelphia can be a good place for Young to resurrect his career at the age of 28.
And why not?
The Eagles drafted and groomed Kevin Kolb, before turning him around for a Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback and a second-round pick. They gave Vick a chance, and he turned in his best year as a pro in 2010.
And now, they'll reportedly take a chance on Young. There are a lot of reasons why this could work. And it all starts with Young's talent. Despite the issues I mentioned above, Young still had success on the field in Tennessee. The Titans went 13-6 in the last 19 games he started. And Young threw 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions the last two seasons.
No one questions his arm, as Young was able to hit on big plays in 2010, averaging 8.0 yards per attempt, just a notch below Vick (8.1).
In Philadelphia, he'll have structure with Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg, two coaches who continue to build their reputations as quarterback-molders. And he'll have downfield weapons in DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.
Perhaps most importantly, Young will have someone to look up to. Imagine if last year at this time, I told you Vick was going to have to take Young under his wing in Philadelphia. No one would have believed it.
And so, while Vick continues to work on his own game and continues his own rehabilitation process, here is one more item to add to his plate: mentor Young. Given the course of events that landed Vick here in the first place, you get the feeling this is something he'll embrace.
On the field, the question is: Will Young be able to win games? He'll have a shortened offseason to learn the offense, and the Eagles will need him to be ready to play if Vick goes down. But a lot of that is going to fall on Reid and Mornhinweg. As long as Young has the right attitude, shouldn't they be able to simplify the offense and play to his strengths? They've been up to the challenge in the past, so it's not surprising they think they can do it again with Young.
From afar, it seems like Young has been at his best when he's been allowed some improvisation. The numbers suggest that too. According to Pro Football Focus, Young had a 115.1 QB rating last year when pressured and a 99.0 QB rating when blitzed.
I'd like to take a closer look at Young's performance last year, but my initial reaction here is that the Eagles took a good risk. According to Breer, it's a one-year contract, meaning that if things don't work out, the Eagles can likely get rid of Young and find a safer option. As I've mentioned many times before, Vick's injury history has been a little exaggerated. In five years as the Falcons' starter, he missed more than one game just once.
But if he does go down, it seems like Young would give the Eagles as much of a shot to win games as the other names out there.
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