Thursday, January 04, 2007

Vince Young: ORoY

Congratulations to Vince Young, who handily won the Offensive Rookie of the Year, with 23 out of the 50 votes cast. JAX RB Maurice Jones-Drew and NO WR Marques Colston tied for first runner-up with 9 tallies each.

I'm glad to see VY's success recognized. VY went 8-5 as a starter, and the Titans went 7-2 in games decided by 7 or fewer points. And in 6 of those 7 wins, VY can truly be said to have made the difference (notable exception: 2nd JAX game). At the same time, though, I think the award should probably have gone to SD LT Marcus McNeill, who played at All-Pro level, something no clear-eyed observer could claim VY did. McNeill did at least finish 4th in the voting. I'm not sure if I'd rank him over VY or not, but IND RB Joseph Addai was snubbed badly when he didn't receive any votes after finished with over 1000 yards and a gaudy 4.75 ypc average. Using Football Outsiders' advanced stats for RBs, Addai was the fifth most valuable running back in the league both rushing and receiving, and badly outplayed Dominic Rhodes.

And now the real reason you get this post: Merrill Hoge. Hoge's latest brilliant career move, one that has earned him the love and affection of many Titans fans, has been to decry any possibility that Vince Young will ever become a good NFL QB. The latest idiocy is this: in an interview with The Tennesseean, Hoge listed his top 4 ORoY candidates thusly:
1. Reggie Bush, RB, NO
2. Devin Hester, DB, CHI
3. Marques Colston, WR, NO
4. VY
Reggie Bush is an interesting argument. In NO's early MNF game against the Falcons, he wasn't very productive. But, when you did the breakdown, ATL did a lot of scheming designed to stop him. Bush eventually improved his on-field performance as the year went on, but was he enough of a pure threat, scheme-wise, to merit such a lofty ranking? I don't really think so, particularly given Deuce McAllister came back from injury a better player. Marques Colston as a very good WR, another big exception to rookie WRs not being very good. But, if you watched the Saints, Joe Horn was the WR who made the passing game go. Note none of Addai, McNeill, or JAX RB Maurice Jones-Drew (10th most valuable RB rusher, 7th most valuable RB receiver) makes Hoge's Top 4. Instead, the #2 man is none other than Chicago Bear Devin Hester, a defensive back. And, as many Bears fans will tell you, a defensive back who isn't very good. Ah, but Hester's main value isn't as a DB, you say? Yes, he was a returner. And a sterling one: he averaged 26.4 yards per kickoff return and 12.8 yards per punt return, with 3 PR TDs and 2 KOR TDs, despite returning kicks only half the year. And in just one year he had almost as many fumbles as Pacman Jones has had in two seasons! But, when you're Merrill Hoge, picky details like an inability to hold onto the ball and playing on the wrong side of the ball on plays from scrimmage aren't a real deterrent.

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