The League

Desmond Bieler
Occasional Blogger, Constant Blowhard

Desmond Bieler

An assistant news editor at The Washington Post

Tennessee at Cincinnati, Week 2


Sunday, 1 p.m.

Even if the Bengals were the types to indulge in schadenfreude -- and for all I know, they are, those heartless curs -- they couldn't take too much comfort in the travails of Tennessee quarterback Vince Young. Even with their star out of action with an injury and apparently going through some sort of psychodrama, the Titans appear to have plenty left to beat Cincinnati into a pulp. And the Titans might even enjoy the suffering, those heartless curs.

To recap the Young situation: He was booed by Tennessee fans after throwing his second interception last Sunday; he appeared to be hesitant about going back into the game after that; he did return, only to sprain a knee ligament a few plays later, which could sideline him for several weeks; he postponed his MRI exam on Monday and seemed so despondent that the team had him meet with Coach Jeff Fisher and a psychologist; he disappeared for a few hours without his cell phone, and eventually Fisher called in the police to help find Young; finally, Young reappeared late Monday night and met with Fisher again and with police crisis negotiators. Other than that, Young had a great couple of days. But wait, there's more! Subsequently, his mother told The Tennessean that Young is "tired of being ridiculed and persecuted" and might not want to play football anymore, which echoes a story that emerged in the offseason about the quarterback's mental state. So the Titans have just a teensy little bit to deal with regarding their supposed franchise QB.

This might cause quite a distraction for Tennessee, even though regardless of where Young is psychologically, he will be physically unable to play for a while. Or Tennessee might simply take out its frustration on the next team unfortunate enough to cross its path. And here come the Bengals, who, coincidentally enough, just got worked over by a team (Baltimore) with the same pound-on-you-until-you-wilt style of play that the Titans employ. Except Tennessee is probably better at it. Led by dominant defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, the Titans sacked Jaguars quarterback David Garrard seven times last week, and they held the Jags' normally prodigious rushing attack to a minuscule 33 yards. Cortland Finnegan, who could be the league's next superstar cornerback, chipped in with two interceptions. Tennessee can run the ball a bit as well, especially after having drafted rookie speedster Chris Johnson, who accounted for 127 total yards and a score against Jacksonville. And Young's replacement, Kerry Collins, ranks third among active quarterbacks with 34,782 passing yards and should provide some veteran savvy.

So Cincinnati might be suffering from its own depressed mind-state these days. But at least the team can draw upon past success. In three games against the Titans, Carson Palmer has gone 2-1, completing 73.8 percent of his passes for 802 yards, 5 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and a 102.6 rating. Chad Ocho Cinco has had two straight games against Tennessee with over 100 receiving yards, including career highs of 12 catches and three scores in the teams' last meeting. Of course, that was one tumultuous offseason, goofball name change and painful shoulder injury ago.

update: Haynesworth sat out practices on Wednesday and Thursday because of what Fisher termed "mild concussion symptoms." "We're hoping we have him available for Sunday," Fisher said. The Bengals are probably hoping differently.

update No. 2: Young talked to the media on Thursday and, predictably enough, blamed the media for taking his mom's words out of context, or twisting them, or something. "She know I don't want to leave football. She knows I love this game. She's the one that put me in this game. I'm here. I'm ready to play, but right now I'm rehabbing," he said. Hmmm, maybe Fisher should hire Young's mom to "put him in the game" more often, since the coach had a little trouble with that last week.

By Desmond Bieler  |  September 12, 2008; 10:00 AM ET  | Category:  Post Gameday Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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