Not that there
haven't been some rough spots. Though Young progressed quickly enough to unseat
Kerry Collins as the starter in Week 4 against the Dallas Cowboys, he didn't
feel that he had established himself as the team's leader. After a 14--13 loss
at Indianapolis the following week, Young left the RCA Dome feeling despondent.
On the bus and during a conversation the next day, he told Hall that he sensed
his teammates weren't ready to believe in him. His insecurity showed in his
play, as he often pressed and overreacted to errors committed by him or his
teammates. Like many high draft picks who come from successful colleges and are
unaccustomed to losing, Young was particularly hard on himself. "People
told me I'd have to deal more with losing at this level," he says. "I
understood that, but I didn't want to start accepting losses."
down, thanks in part to the veteran Collins, who told him to keep an even keel
if things weren't going well. Against the Washington Redskins the following
week, on the Titans' opening possession Young overthrew tight end Bo Scaife on
what should've been an easy 18-yard touchdown pass, but he didn't let the
miscue frustrate him. He completed 13 of 25 passes for 161 yards and a
touchdown in a 25--22 victory. "Earlier, he would've been really upset
about that pass," Collins says. "But when he reached the sideline, he
acted like it was no big deal."
Young has been so
impressive over the last month--engineering wins over three playoff contenders
( Philadelphia, the New York Giants and Indianapolis) and staging three straight
fourth-quarter comebacks--that it's hard to find anything to knock him on. His
only major mistake during this run came when he missed the team flight to
Philadelphia on Nov. 18; Young said he left his ID at home and, after
retrieving it, got stuck behind a funeral procession. His pride surely took a
hit after Fisher told the pilot to leave without Young, but he hasn't lost a
In fact, Fisher
already is thinking about the next step for his rookie quarterback, saying he
wants to see more consistency. Chow adds that Young has to start taking over
games earlier and doing a better job of adjusting when a defense flashes a new
look. Young showed signs of that on Sunday, when he recognized the Texans'
blitz on the final play after Houston had spent most of the game dropping eight
defenders into coverage.
As he left
Reliant Stadium on Sunday afternoon, Young got the full-scale rock-star
treatment from the 200 people waiting for him near the players' exit. An
exuberant Young exchanged hugs, signed autographs and posed for photos for at
least 30 minutes. As Felicia Young had predicted, it was a special day--and the
sense around the Titans is that the kid is just getting started.
never say it, but it bothered him that people thought it would take him three
or four years to become a player in this league," says Tennessee Pro Bowl
linebacker Keith Bulluck. "So I know he's taking a lot of pride in proving
those people wrong."