NASHVILLE - SEPTEMBER 12: Vince Young #10 of the Tennessee Titans looks on against the Oakland Raiders during the NFL season opener at LP Field on September 12 2010 in Nashville Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Raiders 38-13. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
As NFL fans tend to do, when scouring soon-to-be-available players on the free agent and trade fronts, the focus tends to center on bigger-name players. As such, in conversations surrounding which veteran quarterback the Buffalo Bills might look to acquire to back up Ryan Fitzpatrick, much of the rhetoric has involved Vince Young.
Which makes sense, I suppose. Young has won a lot of games and made a lot of plays at the NFL level, will turn just 28 years old next week, and is still talented enough to start in the NFL. He's still under contract with Tennessee, but given his $8.5 million salary and $4.25 million roster bonus due when the new league year starts, it seems more likely that he'll be released, freeing him up to sign anywhere he likes.
There are two reasons why I'm not big on the idea of Buffalo pursuing Young. First, the team has hitched its wagon to Fitzpatrick, and adding Young would be akin to begging for a quarterback controversy. The other, more important reason, however, is that Young would necessitate a dramatic change in offensive philosophy should he have to play.
With Fitzpatrick, an offensive line that is better at pass blocking than run blocking, versatile running backs and lots of depth at wide receiver, Chan Gailey's offense utilized a lot of spread concepts in 2010, with Fitzpatrick operating quite a bit out of the shotgun. That is Fitzpatrick's style - he's at his best finding mismatches out of those looks and putting guys in position to make plays.
That is not Young's strength. He would never thrive in a pass-first, spread-'em-out offense the way Fitzpatrick did at times last season. With Young, you'd better have a strong running game, a sound offensive line and a lot play-action in your playbook that will allow Young to extend plays and make easier (and more vertical) reads. That is the type of offense he operated with moderate (and sometimes great) success in Tennessee. It is not what Gailey did last season.
That's not a huge problem in and of itself, however, because Gailey has run just about every type of offense known to man, and he could just as easily scheme up that type of offense as he could the one he did a year ago. It would not be playing to the strengths of Buffalo's personnel, but it could be done.
The real problem is the idea of bringing in a backup quarterback that would necessitate such a dramatic shift in offensive identity should your starter go down. It'd be like backing up Matt Hasselbeck with Michael Vick - on the fly, you'd have to change everything your offense is about to be successful. That's a lot of stress to place not only on your backup quarterbacks and your offensive personnel, but on Gailey as a game planner and play-caller, as well.
I believe, for those reasons, that the idea of Buffalo pursuing Young is highly unrealistic. Those same reasons are also why a spread guy like Tyler Thigpen would be a much more sensible guy for the Bills to pursue. Add in the fact that Young wants to start, and probably wouldn't consider Buffalo because they've already got a starter, and Young isn't a guy I plan on spending a lot of time on here beyond this post.