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Well you asked for a Young Quarterback: Looking at the Pros and Cons of the Vince Young signing

Published: Monday, May 1st 2017, 7:05am

​By Greg McCulloch

Barely a week ago, CFL social media was clamoring over the unthinkable happening, Vince Young got off a plane in Regina in preparation to announce his signing with the Roughriders.

Now a week later, both euphoria and anger have subsided, so let’s look at the pros and cons of this move by Chris Jones and the Riders.

Pro: It gets attention…

After weeks of Rider “fans” bemoaning they had no idea who anyone was on the team anymore. Jones delivered a name, and what a name. The then retired Young is a former NCAA legend for Texas, College Player of the year, BCS National Champion, NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, 2-time Pro Bowler, Madden Cover Athlete… is most definitely a name.

Even though NFL free agency started, the news of Young’s signing was big news in the US as it was a lead story on ESPN, Bleacher Report, Deadspin, Fox Sports, etc. Hell, one of Sportsnet’s main talents, Sid Seixeiro, admitted on his program “Tim and Sid” that if Young plays he would watch the CFL.

Let that sink in for a minute, a Sportsnet personality admitted on the air he would watch the competitor, TSN, just to watch Young play. Sportsnet usually goes out of their way to find new and creative ways to bury the CFL. (See anything Arash Madani has done recently that isn’t tennis related.)

Not sure how Jones and the CFL’s relationship is going right now, but I think it is a tad friendlier with the buzz he’s gotten the league on both sides of the border.

Con: It gets attention…

The Riders are coming off a 5-win season after an even more pitiful 3-win season. While last year was Jones’ first season, this is the year many feel like he needs to show marked improvement after he gutted the team. Most fans want to see tangible results in the standings and on the field, and a flashy signing of a retired NFL QB after trading away the Rider Legend Icon starting QB Darian Durant might not be the way to go.

Some point that this could be a great move to get fans in the seats of the new stadium. Jones inherited arguably the best fans in the league, there is no worry that the new stadium won’t be at capacity most of next year unless the wheels fall off the bus. (Yes, Ottawa I know about your fans and your sell-out streak, just remember you are on your 3rd  franchise since Winnipeg last won the Grey Cup.)

However, the addition of Young to training camp is going to be a circus. What was going to be a QB battle between well-travelled veteran Kevin Glenn and a bunch of upstarts, now has the making of Hard Knocks: CFL Edition.

If Young flames out or just ends up as number 2 behind Glenn was it really worth the headaches?

Pro: They got him for 1/3 of Drew Willy… or 1 “Dre” if you will

When Young had his press conference he said all the right things about “opportunity”, the desire to play again, wanting to fix the mistakes he’s made, and that it is not about him but about the team. At points, it seemed like he was laying it on pretty thick as he has a well-paying day job at his Alma Mater of Texas, he owns steak houses and recently started a realty company. It seemed like the Riders must have made him quite the offer, or a decent bonus to come slum it in camp.

Turns out that thinking was wrong, as Justin Dunk reported that Young signed a 1 year plus team option, which is standard on all rookie contracts. However, it was the numbers that told the story, $120,000 with no signing bonus. NO FREAKING BONUS. Young meant every single word when he said all he wanted was an opportunity. 

There is literally no risk on the Riders end, all it cost was some plane tickets. If he can find his form it could be interesting with that rebuilt receiving corps and if he can’t you still have Kevin Glenn, Brandon Bridge, Bryan Bennett, and GJ Kinne slugging it out.

Con: It probably pissed off Kevin Glenn

When Glenn was signed as a Rider for the third time in his career, there were no promises made. He was to be the vet coming into camp and push the young guys and most likely like he does everywhere he goes, become the starter at some point in the season. However, I don’t think he was expecting to push this “Young” guy.

It is no secret Glenn gets no respect in the CFL, he is seen as a stop gap solution till they find the next guy…more often than not it has been Henry Burris. That shouldn’t happen again… we hope.

But like Glenn stated on twitter this is nothing new for him and he was looking forward to camp.

Pro: It probably pissed off Kevin Glenn

Glenn with a chip on his shoulder is going to push all the QBs in camp. After the QB struggles the Riders have had the past few seasons that could be a very good thing with the aforementioned receiving corps. 

Con: He could still be Vince Young

It’s no secret Young has been out of the NFL for awhile now. Young’s not young, he’s 33 and would be in the NFL if anyone would want him. Hell, the Cleveland Browns would have been better off running Wildcat for the past decade then trotting out most of the QBs they have had…  and they cut Young in the preseason of 2014.

He had a wonky throwing motion, was quick to run when the first read wasn’t there, and he essentially bombed the Wonderlic test the first time he was given it. To compare, Michael Bishop’s Wonderlic score was higher and they had to put the plays on white boards on the Winnipeg sidelines because he couldn’t remember the signals. 

Athletic talent will only take you so far and it could be he hit his ceiling.

Pro: He could still be Vince Young

Vince Young in college was a beast. The 2006 Rose Bowl between Texas and USC is one NCAA’s most celebrated games, if not the best NCAA championship game of all time. He won the award for best QB in the NCAA in 2005 and was runner-up to Reggie Bush for the Heisman. The guy could play ball in the right system.

So where do we go from here?

As mentioned above, Young in his press conference spoke of opportunity and mistakes he’s made. If Young is serious and could devote himself to the game and avoid the mistakes this could be the best way for him to write a new chapter in his career. 

Is Young a Rider next year if he spends the entire year on the bench? Doubtful. 

Is he the answer for the short term? Who knows. 

Is he going to be the first player to fall prey to both the Madden Curse and the Kevin Glenn Curse? More than likely, thats some bad voodoo.

The only thing anyone truly knows for sure is Young said all the right things and he is officially a quarterback on the Riders roster. Everything else will slowly shake out once camp starts in early June.



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