As the whispers made their way through town, the sweat began to drip down the backs of the Bills fans. Around the water cooler, in the classrooms or on the internet; the nervous gossip all reflected the quiet fears of the Buffalo faithful, centering around one dreadful question: “Did you hear Vince Young is having a press conference?”
“He wouldn’t dare – no, that’s impossible … not after last year,” the fans pleaded within the mental imprisonment that had become their own conscience.
With the fate of the Bills promising 2012 campaign on the line their new quarterback stepped to the podium, draped in his new team’s blue and red. As the moments passed, the nerves mounted; with each slowly-passing moment the anxiety became more even excruciating. With fans and reporters alike – maybe even those within the Bills organization – on the edge of their seats, the question was finally asked.
“A lot was made last summer, it probably got a bit out of proportion, about the dream team … can you reflect back on that?” a reporter asked the former number-three overall pick.
Needless to say, Bills fans dodged their first bullet of the year as Vince Young was able to refrain from making a “dream team” comment in regards to his new roster. He did, however, show respect for his teammates, from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Mario Williams, making clear the fact that he was happy to be a part of a promising team. If the Bills get cursed for that, so be it.
All joking aside, Vince Young seemed to say almost all the right things in yesterday’s presser, acknowledging his role as a backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick while also promoting the value of hard work and readiness in the backup role.
“[Fitzpatrick is] our starting quarterback and I’m behind him 100%,” Young said. “The biggest thing is as a, not just at my position but any position on a football field, you have to be always ready because you never know what’s going to happen. If it’s staying in shape, if it’s extra studying … you’ve got to stay ready because your number could get called any minute.”
In Young’s stint as Michael Vick’s backup last season with the Eagles, Young’s number was called upon to start three games starting with Sunday Night Football against the rival New York Giant, followed by bouts with the Patriots and Seahawks, respectively. In that small sample size, Young accumulated 866 passing yards and a 57.9 completion percentage, but threw for nine interceptions as opposed to only four touchdowns.
The overwhelming topic of conversation among Bills fans since it was first announced that Young would workout with the Bills on May 1 has been whether or not this creates an unnecessary controversy at the quarterback position, similar to what has happened in New York with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. After all, the Bills front office gives is completely behind Fitzpatrick – and so are the majority of the fans.
But is a quarterback controversy really a bad thing in our situation? The Bills don’t necessarily have Peyton Manning under center, and they aren’t necessarily coming off a playoff-type season either. I’m a Ryan Fitzpatrick supporter – I think that, when he plays at the highest of his abilities, he can lead a team to the playoffs. However, I also thought that about Trent Edwards just four years ago. If something were to happen, or if Fitz’s performance isn’t up to par with our expectations, I like to know the Bills have a backup quarterback with some promise and experience.
Fitz has the slight edge over Young when it comes to career numbers, but Young has proved in the past that he has what it takes to win games. Of course, he never did realize his potential or reach the expectations that come along with being a number-three overall pick. But he’s only 29-years-old, I’d like to see what the Bills offensive coaching staff can do to rejuvenate his career if the time comes – remember, before they got their hands on Fitzpatrick he was nothing more than an average backup either.
My main point is this: I love Ryan Fitzpatrick as much as the next guy and I respect what he accomplished last season, especially if his broken ribs had as profound an effect as some like to think. Everyone – even Vince Young himself, evident from his comments yesterday – knows that the starting job belongs to Fitz. But we’ve waited a long time to get back to the playoffs and with our talent and our schedule this season I’d like to believe this is the year to do it. Once the season comes around, I want the best guy for the job at the most important position on the field; whether it’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, Vince Young, even in the unlikely scenario that it’s Tyler Thigpen, I don’t care.
The player that gives the Bills the best chance to win is the right man for the job, in my opinion. Whoever that person is, I’ll be rooting for him.
Bills Mafia Blog