Young replaces Collins vs. Jaguars

Updated: October 30, 2009, 12:19 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams wants more of Vince Young. He's getting just that with his winless team switching from veteran Kerry Collins back to the 2006 Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Coach Jeff Fisher announced the expected move Thursday following practice for the 0-6 Titans, and Young got the news from his coach in the morning. Fisher insists it was an organizational decision resulting from the team's winless start and that he won't play musical chairs with the position.

"We're in a unique situation right now. We haven't won a game. We wouldn't be having this conversation if we were 3-3," Fisher said.

That means Young will start Sunday against Jacksonville (3-3), the team that helped send him to the bench in the 2008 opener by picking him off twice and spraining his knee. Collins started 20 of the 21 games since then.

Young has eight career interceptions against Jacksonville with only three touchdown passes. He also has more career interceptions (33) than TD passes (22). But he has won five of his last six starts and is 18-11 as a starter. Young thanked Fisher for giving him a chance to sit back, develop and learn from Collins.

"For him to give me a shot again to go out and give it a chance again is big for me because I've been waiting," Young said.

The move appeared inevitable since the Titans lost 59-0 at New England on Oct. 18. Adams told The Tennessean newspaper after that loss in New England that he wanted to see more of Young.

The No. 3 overall pick in the 2006 draft split the work evenly with Collins at practice Wednesday but took all snaps with the first-team offense Thursday.

Collins wasn't happy or surprised by the move, which came a day after the Titans started prepping for their next game.

"When you're 0-6, then heads are going to roll. More times than not, it's the quarterback," Collins said.

Young started the meaningless regular-season finale at Indianapolis last December, so this will be his first start under pressure since that 2008 season opener.

It's a game best known for Young being booed by the home fans and refusing at first to go back on the field until prompted by Fisher. Young sprained his knee a few plays later, then sparked a police hunt the next day when he drove off from his home with a gun in his car. The quarterback blamed his mother for overreacting.

"If we win, it's going to be good," Young said. "If we lose, it's all going to be Vince Young's fault. I just want to go out and play and get my rhythm back and put smiles on my coaches' faces and my teammates' faces and definitely the fans."

Collins led Tennessee to a 13-3 record and signed a two-year deal in the offseason to return as the starter. He hasn't been helped by at least 18 drops by his receivers.

But the Titans are off to a start that is their worst ever under Fisher, and Young is the quarterback the franchise drafted No. 3 overall in 2006 with a $4.25 million bonus due in March. He also is slated to count $14.2 million against the salary cap if on the roster in 2010.

Linebacker Keith Bulluck said the start wasn't Collins' fault.

"We're going with VY, and I'm happy for him in the sense that he's someone who lost his spot and had to sit back, take a backseat, be humbled out a little bit but has learned a lot in that time. I'm kind of looking forward to see how he's grown as a player," Bulluck said.

Young replaced Collins in 2006 in the fourth game of an 0-5 start, and the Titans wound up winning eight of their final 11 that season to just miss a playoff berth.

The Jaguars sound as if they expected Young to play all along.

"The owner said who he wants to play," said Jaguars linebacker Clint Ingram, who played against Young in college when he was at Oklahoma.

Tennessee running back Javon Ringer watched practice Thursday after a night spent in a hospital with an injured back, and Fisher says the Titans are optimistic the rookie won't miss a lot of time.

Ringer was hurt after catching a pass Wednesday and was in such pain he had to be carted off the field. An All-American at Michigan State, Ringer was the Titans' fifth-round pick at No. 173 overall. Fisher would not elaborate on the injury to Ringer's back, but said he will be OK after team officials initially feared the worst.

Cornerback Cortland Finnegan was limited in his first practice since Oct. 8. Receiver Nate Washington sat out with an injured quad, and returner Mark Jones did not practice with an injured hamstring.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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