Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Why Vince Young has an uphill battle to make the roster

On Sunday reports began trickling in (thanks to Wes Hodkiewicz for breaking the story) that Vince Young is going to have a tryout with the Green Bay Packers on Monday.  That tryout came and went and the Packers signed Vince Young reportedly for the veteran's minimum.  How the mighty had fallen for the once 3rd overall pick in the draft (the Packers selected 5th in the round and had he fallen there, Andrew Brandt reported that there might have been some push to pick him - Ted Thompson has always been intrigued with Young's talent).

First, let's lay out why Thompson and McCarthy brought in the 30 year old quarterback who's been out of football since 2011:
1.  Defending the Read-Option.
Vince Young can and will run well.  He is a large (6'5") imposing quarterback cut from the same cloth as Kaepernick in San Francisco.  Unlike many of the younger camp-arm options to practice the read-option against, Young possesses an NFL arm that can make the throws anywhere on the field.  Of course, he may not always know where the ball is going (accuracy has always been an issue for him) and his ability to read defenses has never been a particular strong point, but that is probably a wash with other available QBs.

2.  Thompson/McCarthy have always been intrigued by an athletic quarterback
McCarthy has always thought highly of Vince Young and even Tim Tebow and this was an opportunity to bring in a guy that normally you wouldn't be able to bring in.  Add to that the Green Bay cut their other camp arm due to an injury before camp started, and he's a little bit of a fit.  McCarthy said he wanted 4 arms in camp.  Now he has that.

3.  The Play of Coleman/Harrell
Harrell has been up and down in camp.  He was ok in the scrimmage, but I'm sensing that on tape he made too many check-downs and did not make the proper read one too many times for the Packers.  Coleman is a gunslinger who has a long way to go to ever figure out an NFL defense.  Both quarterbacks have seemed slow to read and react to what the defense is bringing.  Vince Young will give some competition for them in that position.

So why will it be so hard for him to make the roster?
1.  It's always about the money
First, it's finances.  Vince Young is a vested veteran (meaning has more than 4 accrued NFL seasons).  Quote below courtesy of NBC Sports - Greg Rosenthal
If a so-called “vested veteran” is on a team at the start of the season and thereafter is released, he has the right to collect the balance of his base salary for the season — even if he later signs with another team. 
Each player may do this only once in his career.
For vested veterans signed after the season starts, the available termination pay drops dramatically.  Each player is entitled to the balance of the first 25 percent of his base salary or one week’s pay based on the minimum salary for players with 10 or more years of service, whichever is greater.
 If the Packers keep Young on the roster on final cut-down, they'll likely owe him the entire salary regardless of whether or not he is on the team.  They cannot sign him until after week 1 to avoid the payout.

2.  The complexity of the offense
Had the Packers actually thought they needed the competition, they would have signed Young (perhaps they tried) earlier so he could learn the offense during offseason OTAs and minicamp.  But they didn't.  Now, he has to get up to speed all in one training camp.  This offense is completely different to anything Young played under previously.  It stresses accurate on-time throws and patience and footwork when the read isn't open yet.  Young can do the latter quite well, but he has always struggled with throwing on time and accuracy.

3.  Lack of opportunity
Though Rodgers won't play much in the preseason, Harrell and Coleman likely will.  Young, having already established that he won't have a full idea of the offense (playing with others who will be looking for him to know the offense better than him as they'll be mostly rookies and young players), will not receive meaningful snaps in the preseason until week 3 (where Rodgers will take much of the available playing time from him) or week 4 (where competition is noticeably less than in week 2 and 3 of preseason).

My opinion:
I hope he makes it.  If he does, it likely means that he's found it again and has something that he can contribute to the Packers.  And if he's cut, then it might just mean that the backups aren't quite as bad as previously thought as well.

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