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Young may get direct route back onto field

November 16, 2008|Sam Farmer | Farmer is a Times staff writer.

The Tennessee Titans have two very important things this season that no other NFL team has.

A 9-0 record.

And Vince Young.

One is the product of good players, good coaches and good luck.

The other is, well, holding a clipboard behind starting quarterback Kerry Collins.

Tennessee is a team built around its defense and running game, and that's been working just fine. No one else is undefeated.

But it remains to be seen whether an offense currently ranked 22nd will be enough to take the Titans where they want to go this season.

With teams all over the NFL experimenting with the "Wildcat" offense -- direct snaps to running backs -- why don't the Titans try doing that with Young?

They haven't ruled it out.

Coach Jeff Fisher has been asked about it several times this season, and his unwavering answer is, essentially, maybe.

"I would be surprised if we didn't see it from them at some point this season," former Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "They could certainly force a defense to prepare for it. Every minute you can take from a defense is a good thing."

It would also consume some of Tennessee's practice time, but that wouldn't be too oppressive. After all, Young has started 29 games over the last three seasons.

Obviously, he's a run-pass threat. Although he has struggled with his accuracy at times, he's a vastly more experienced passer than any running back in the league.

As a quarterback, there's a good chance Young will stay on the sideline for as long as Collins is physically sound. Coaches were not at all pleased in the opener, Young's last game as a starter, when he refused to re-enter the game.

After he was replaced as starter, Young sulked and further irked his coaches.

Some team insiders thought that doomed his chances of getting back onto the field, unless the Titans had no other option.

So, with players such as Miami's Ronnie Brown, Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson and the New York Jets' Brad Smith, the league's most intriguing Wildcat candidate could find himself playing another position.

Left out.


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