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Don't mess with success

Teams should resist urge to alter Young's mechanics

Posted: Wednesday April 5, 2006 1:30PM; Updated: Thursday April 6, 2006 1:30AM
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Since leading Texas to victory over USC in the Rose Bowl for the national championship, Vince Young has been deconstructed more than the Zapruder film.

Vince Young compiled a 30-2 record as a starter at Texas.
Vince Young compiled a 30-2 record as a starter at Texas.
Bob Rosato/SI
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The quarterback's intelligence has been questioned. (I considered the Wonderlic test irrelevant after learning that Ryan Leaf scored 27 and Dan Marino 15.) Young's choice of an agent has brought scrutiny -- he picked a family friend who is a lawyer. And, of course, there's his throwing motion.

Sure, Young should be put under the microscope just like every other top prospect poised to land a lucrative contract. But the topic of his throwing motion has been overblown.

Instead of the conventional, over-the-top form, Young has a quirky release that fluctuates between three quarters and sidearm. At times it seems as though Young is trying to fling bird droppings off his right hand.

But NFL quarterbacks have been fine using idiosyncratic deliveries: think Bernie Kosar, or go way back to Sonny Jurgenson. And Young can succeed, too.

I asked a few coaches at the recent owners' meeting about Young's delivery, and I was glad to hear that some wouldn't mess with it.

"People tried to mess with Kerry Collins' motion," said Eagles coach Andy Reid. "And for the practices before the draft, he threw the way he was taught to throw the last few weeks. And then when he got in the league, he went back to throwing the way he always threw. But he's been very successful.

"Vince is very accurate. Him moving his arm down a little bit isn't going to kill things. I wouldn't mess with it. When he gets in the heat of battle, that's what he's going to do. Let it be and let him play."

That's what coach Mack Brown did at Texas, where the Longhorns were 30-2 with Young as a starter. In only three seasons Young became the school's all-time leader in total offense (9,167 yards) and touchdown passes (81). Last season, he led the nation in passing efficiency while completing a sizzling 65.2 percent of his attempts. He has solid arm strength and is capable of making virtually every NFL throw.