Vince Young the Packer?
It's the inevitable question. A relatively high-profile quarterback comes on the market, and since the number two quarterback position in Green Bay is apparently less than settled, rumors inevitably arise about that quarterback coming to the Packers.
This time around, the quarterback in question is Vince Young. Released by the Buffalo Bills earlier this week after the Bills acquired Tarvaris Jackson in a trade with Seattle, people who ask these sorts of questions are wondering if Young could possibly on Ted Thompson's watch list.
The funny thing is, there could be more to those questions given an unusual history between Thompson and Young. Back in 2006, Green Bay held the fifth pick in the draft, and Thompson did his usual diligence on all the top prospects, Young included. Packerpedia.com points out that Thompson was unusually effusive in his praise of Young following the Texas quarterback's pro day workout:
"That was a hell of a workout," Thompson said. "What impressed me the most was his velocity on all his throws. And he's just so smooth in everything he does."
He didn't stop there:
"The more I watch him now, the more I realize that I haven't seen anyone quite like him," added Thompson. "Usually, when you're scouting a player, you think to yourself, 'He reminds me of so-and-so.' But in this case, Young doesn't remind me of anyone. He seems to be one of a kind. The more I watch him, the more I just scratch my head and wonder how he did that."
"I'll go back to the Sam Bowie situation. If you have a chance to get Michael Jordan, you get Michael Jordan."
Raise your hand if you can think of a time Ted's been that enamored with any prospect. I certainly can't. Right now just about all you get from T-Squared is "he's a good player" if he's feeling especially loose-lipped. At the time, you could hardly blame him for being so generous. Young had basically destroyed USC in the National Championship by himself, and he was a tremendous physical prospect. Ultimately, Young went to the Titans with the third pick in the draft, and although he did win Rookie of the Year that season, he really hasn't lived up to the hype so far in his career.
The real question, though, is would Young be an improvement over Graham Harrell. What the team needs in a backup is someone who could come in and keep the seat warm if Rodgers goes down for a few weeks. If Rodgers is gone for anything more than a month, there's really no chance of keeping the season going. But say the defending MVP went down for four weeks. Could Young step in during that time?
Recent history says probably not. Young started three games for the Eagles last season in relief of Michael Vick and didn't exactly overwhelm. He went 1-2, throwing four touchdowns against eight interceptions on 113 passing attempts. Although he did take down the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants, the Young-led Eagles got smoked by the Patriots and Seahawks.
Even Graham Harrell could probably manage to get trounced in a couple starts, so the question Steady Teddy has to be asking is if Young's chances at securing an emergency win or two are better than Harrell's. Again, recent history says no, but Harrell hasn't done anything to show he's the better choice either. Young would probably be a low risk, low-cost signing, much like Cedric Benson, and he's certainly more athletic than Harrell.
But on the other hand, we could be borrowing trouble by even asking about Young. Aaron Rodgers hasn't been hurt yet. There's no reason to assume he will get hurt. While it's important to be prepared, it's also important to not worry needlessly. If Rodgers tears up his shoulder, then we can start worrying. Until then, the Young/Harrell debate will be restricted to the blogosphere.