If you haven’t been paying attention to the utterly bizarre sequence of events going on with the Tennessee Titans, I strongly urge you to begin doing so. It’s a wonderment of collective dysfunction. It makes Dallas and Minnesota look downright stable by comparison.
The Titans placed QB Vince Young on injured reserve yesterday with a thumb injury. This is the same injury that Young insisted he could play through against the Redskins on Sunday. Now comes word that Young was banned from a team meeting that was organized specifically so that the team to talk about Young without Young present. Various media outlets then reported Young was banned from the Titans practice facility and that the team had cut him off entirely, which the team denies (and is also not allowed by the league).
Fisher seems eager to rid himself of Young forever after the QB openly pouted on the sidelines when he wasn’t allowed back in the game against the Skins (in favor of the immortal Rusty Smith), then threw his shoulder pads into the stands and walked out on the team once the game was over.
Fisher and Young have hated each other for years. Fisher never wanted to draft Young and doesn’t believe Young works hard enough to deserve a starting spot, and resented being forced by team owner Bud Adams to start Young after the Titans began last season on a seven-game losing streak. Young, for his part, believes Fisher never gave him a fair shake, and has had his growth stunted as a player because of Fisher jerking him around.
And now, the feud has come to a head, with both men arguing after last week’s game and seemingly both delivering a “he goes or I go” ultimatum to the powers that be. For his part, Titans owner Bud Adams said the two men needed to learn to live with one another, and that he wanted Young to be the team’s QB in 2011. That, incidentally, is the same year Fisher’s contract with the team expires. See? Isn’t this fun?
This is a spectacularly entertaining train wreck. The neatest thing about it is that both men have a legit argument to be made. Fisher HAS jerked Young around. He’s never fully committed to Young, and you can’t do that with a franchise QB’s in today’s NFL. You have to say your vows and marry them. You can’t destroy their confidence (and the team’s confidence) by constantly pulling the rug out from underneath them. So Fisher didn’t want Young drafted. He should have gotten over that ages ago.
On the other hand, no QB has deserved to be jerked around more than Young. From his constant pouting during the 2008 season to his bizarre disappearance that same year to this season, Young brings an atmosphere of unwanted drama everywhere he goes. He clearly has a rotten attitude, and his play has only sporadically justified making him the face of the franchise.
Somehow, both men are serving to make each other worse. Such is their hatred for one another that they’ll happily undermine the team if it means never having to see each other again. And now the Titans are 5-5 and sinking, and Adams still wants them both around next year! God, I hope that happens. I’d be riveted.
But I think Jeff Fisher is smarter than that. I think he resigns once the season is over. And I think he’d rather take a bath with a live car battery than ever see Vince Young again.