Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Tuesday Bottom One

As promised, ladies and gentlemen, Our Man in LA is coming to you for a second day in a row from here in the now drying-out City of Angels. Had a big rainstorm last night, which meant panic in the streets, parking lots on the freeways, and a lot of "Stormwatch '06" graphics on the TV news.

But that's not what I'm here to talk about today. No sir, it's time once again for the Tuesday Bottom One . . . to be followed closely behind by the Tuesday Top Five.

And it has to do with my beloved Mighty Mighty Texas Longhorns. If you've been following the sports news of late - and there's no reason you should, since it's that dead zone before the really cool basketball stuff happens and after football's over - you might have noticed something.

Namely, that it's become a popular pastime to diss former Longhorn QB Vince Young. Now that it's a month past his Rose Bowl heroics, and arguably the best display of athleticism from a college athlete in many years, we're hearing that Vince is no good. Won't be a success. Lot of questions.

Here are some examples:

1) Oh my God! Vince has a weird throwing motion! Nobody's going to want to draft him! Even though Dallas QB Drew Bledsoe has one, too. And there were similar digs on Tom Brady and an assortment of other pros.

Well, that's a hmm, I guess. But not a big one.

2) Oh my Word! He rarely throws the long ball, and when he has, it hasn't been against NFL defenses, it's been against mediocre Big 12 defenses. Now I'm not here to defend the Big 12 - it sucked this year. But wait. Every college QB threw against college defenses, right? Matt Leinert of USC threw against the Pac 10, a conference that didn't exactly distinguish itself this year. Didn't Oklahoma, a shadow of its former self, beat up on supposedly tough Oregon? Didn't #3 school UCLA have trouble putting away #6 Big Ten team Northwestern? And then there's new pretty boy Jay Cutler. He threw against the SEC, which also was so-so this year, and he still lost a bunch of games.

Yup, sounds like a wash to me.

3) Oh my Golly! He's not working out at the NFL Combine, and some reporters for the NFL Network are saying that could ruin his stock. Except that none of the alleged Top 3 prospects are working out there. And that's pretty much the status quo. Guys in the Top Five usually don't.

Another wash.

4) Oh Holy Guacamole! He didn't do well on the Wonderlich test, which tests problem solving at an accelerated rate. I'm a big believer in testing players' smarts, but Dan Marino didn't set the test on fire, either. Leinert did, but then so did Tim Couch.

Bored yet?

Look, folks, admittedly, I'm a Texas homer. No two ways about it. And admittedly, I'm obsessively reading every opinion that dogs Vince on every sports website, and listening to every radio report - as if I need a reason to raise my stress level. That's my problem.

But this really is pretty dumb, isn't it? I mean, when you draft players from college into the NFL, you never really know what you'll get. I'm sure the San Diego Chargers thought they were getting a deal with Ryan Leaf - he was the biggest sure thing this side of Leinert. And my hometown Bengals were pretty excited about sure-thing RB Ki-Jana Carter (shades of Reggie Bush).

That is, until he ran one play in a pre-season exhibition game and suffered a career-ending injury.

Some of these players in this year's draft will be good. Others no. Some in the middle. Will Vince be one for the ages? I don't know. Hope so. But I don't imagine that's going to affect the outcome at all.

So I have to go. Top Five coming up. But first, I have to go check the sports writers to see if anyone dissed Vince in the time since I started writing this.

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