Thursday, August 31, 2006


Volek Weevils

On the recent signing of QB Kerry Collins, Tennessee Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher had this to say about current starting QB Billy Volek:
"Billy's got some competition. I've spoken with Billy. Billy's not too awfully pleased with it. But that's life in the National Football League."

As Troy Aikman once said in a commercial, "Get real!".

They are honestly thinking of starting Collins over Volek? In Collins' best year, 2002, he completed 61% of his passes. That was his ninth season of starting. In Volek's first season of starting, he did that. Granted, it was over a shorter span of games. But that means Volek has some potential.

Collins? We have seen all he can do. Like nearly get Randy Moss killed last year, thanks to Collins' tendency to attach his eyeballs to his favorite receiver. Like completing 53% of his passes last year.

Don't get me wrong. Collins is a decent quarterback. But he has no upside. On the other hand, Volek has shown some nice flashes when he has had the opportunity. In the right system, he could potentially be a great quarterback. He could certainly be no worse than what we have already seen from Collins.

What does all this mean? Jeff Fisher does not strike me as stupid. Anyone can see that Vince "The Franchise" Young is not ready yet, in spite of their plans to start Young in the final preseason game. If Volek gets hurt this year, putting in Young would be the equivalent of throwing Young to the wolves. The Titans needed a second string quarterback.

So they pick up Collins. Volek is not having a great preseason, so they use the acquisition to light a fire under Volek. Now they get to see how Volek responds to the pressure.

Volek's response?
"I guess they want a quarterback who's perfect in every throw and every read, and that's going to be hard to find. I guess they're unhappy with my production. It's hard when you're only getting a quarter a game."

Sure, Volek is no Steve McNair. Sure, he has had a mediocre preseason. But he is actually not a bad quarterback DURING the season. You know, when the games count? In 2004, Volek played in 10 games, completed 61% of his passes, threw for 2486 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Mike Vick cannot even do that (except for the 10 interceptions part).

But now we have Titans General Manager Floyd Reese saying:
"This time of year over the next couple of days, there's an endless number of conversations you'll have with clubs in the league saying `What if?' Some you talk to three or four times, some you talk to once...Billy's name has come up from some of the clubs."

Reese would not walk away from anyone offering a first round pick for Volek, but no team would offer that much. No doubt Reese has a price he would take for Volek which is lower, perhaps a second or third round pick. But Volek has too many question marks for any team to offer that much right now.

Truthfully, I think Reese is playing along with Jeff Fisher's poker game. Mind you, what Fisher is doing is not a complete bluff, because he has a strong hand now with Collins there. The question is: Does Volek have a stronger hand?

There is a wild card in this poker game: Volek's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, of Terrell Owens fame. Rosenhaus has not commented on the situation yet. However, it does not take a brain surgeon to know he has called Floyd Reese and said if Volek does not start, they want a trade. This sheds a new light on Reese's comments, but I don't see Reese accommodating Volek/Rosenhaus just because they asked. Reese would want value in a trade.

What to make of the Titans starting Vince Young in their last preseason game? Right now, the Titans are talking about giving their quarterbacks one quarter each (Matt Mauck is also playing). But if you see Young in there for a half, or three quarters, read that as the Titans are mailing it in this year. They are just waiting until Young can take over and it doesn't matter who starts. In other words, they don't expect Volek OR Collins to win a Super Bowl for them, which is fairly realistic anyway.

If the Titans change their plans in this last preseason game and Volek doesn't play, or if Collins plays well and Volek doesn't, the writing is on the wall. However, if Collins AND Volek play equally well, or Collins plays poorly, expect Volek to start the first game of the season.

My prediction? Young plays the first half. Collins plays the third quarter and looks mediocre or bad. Volek plays the fourth quarter and looks ok. Volek starts the first week of the season, but expect to see Young starting before the end of the year. And Young will NOT look good this year. Volek gets released or traded after the season.

UPDATE: So Vince Young played the first quarter and the first series of the second. Then Kerry Collins came in and finished the rest of the second quarter. Collins went 7-13 for 96 yards.

Billy Volek played the start of the third quarter. He threw one pass, a 54-yard touchdown pass, and they sent him back to the bench. Vince Young finished the third quarter. Matt Mauck played the fourth quarter.

At this point, Volek is trade bait. Collins will soon be announced as the starter.

(Hat tip to,, and of Maryville, TN)

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