ORCHARD PARK —
The notion that Tyler Thigpen could possibly be a better backup quarterback option for the Bills than Vince Young is as puzzling as the Dwight Howard trade.
While neither player was all that impressive in Thursday night’s preseason opener — following the trend established by starter Ryan Fitpatrick — Young was able to provide what Thigpen could not.
Something to be even somewhat enthusiastic about.
It sure says something when a guy completes 5 of 12 passes in the second half of a preseason game and improves his standing in a quarterback competition. Young wound up being the game's leading rusher and flashed his superior athletic ability on a scramble to pick up a third-and-20. There are but a handful of players in the NFL who can make a play like that, and one of them, lining up for the visiting team here last night, is thought to be a future star in the league.
It wasn’t that long ago that we all thought that about Young. Remember the remarkable runs as a rookie that dragged the Titans to a pivotal December win at the Ralph? Remember how he made the Pro Bowl that year, was on the cover of Madden the next, and was once thought to be the prototype for the next generation of quarterbacks, an earlier incarnation of RGIII? Remember the Rose Bowl?
Sure, Young’s career path went off a cliff since then. He has failed to develop as a passer and earned sharp critcism for his failures of leadership and professionalism.
But he remains able to make plays most quarterbacks can only dream about. Plays Thigpen probably couldn’t even make in a Madden game.
It is disconcerting that Young didn't really distinguish himself playing against second-stringers. Let’s remember, however, that Young wasn't brought in to be the starter, or even push Fitzpatrick. He's on a one-year deal, and there are no expectations for him to be any sort of savior, as would have been the case if the Bills were to have drafted a player of his pedigree.