Titans coach Jeff Fisher is being true to Jaguars-Titans tradition, introducing an element of intrigue for this Sunday's game in Nashville by being noncommittal on who his starting quarterback might be. Will Fisher stick with veteran Kerry Collins, or pull the plug on Collins and switch back to Vince Young, who was deposed by Collins early last season following a Young meltdown against the Jaguars in the season-opener?
Collins led the Titans to the best record in the NFL last year, but his passer rating has sagged to 62.0 in six consecutive losses to start this season. In a week-four loss to the Jaguars, Collins threw a couple of interceptions and was largely ineffective.
Rumor is that Fisher has been ordered by Titans owner Bud Adams to reinstate Young as the starter. The thinking is that Young's return to the lineup might re-energize the Titans and return the magic that saw Young win rookie of the year honors in 2006.
"That'll give them something to worry about all week while we're getting ready to play them," linebacker Clint Ingram said. Ingram faced Young three times when Ingram was at Oklahoma and Young was at Texas.
"I liked him in college and in his first year in the league. You just don't luck out and go to the Pro Bowl. He's capable of big plays," Ingram said of Young. "Kerry Collins is like a statue and Vince Young can move, but that statue can stand back there and light you up if he's on."
"They'll still run the same plays," Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew said.
A look at Young's performance against the Jaguars in five games, however, would beg the question: Why make the switch this week?
Young has thrown eight interceptions against four touchdown passes in five outings against the Jaguars. His last game against the Jags was so bad – 110 yards, two interceptions, one touchdown and a 45.6 passer rating – that it sent Young into a late-night funk that caused alarm and concern by Fisher for Young's mental well-being.
His best performance against the Jags was a nondescript eight of 15 for no touchdowns, no interceptions, 85 yards and a 70.1 passer rating his rookie season. Young hasn't even made much of a dent in the Jaguars with his trademark scrambling, as he's only rushed for 96 yards in five games against the Jaguars.
"It's not affecting our team. We can't rely on that to dictate how we play," Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis said of the Titans' quarterback uncertainty. "We still have to play football. We know they're two different elements, so we have to adjust to it."
Mathis' status for Sunday's game is likewise uncertain. He underwent surgery for a broken finger during the bye week and was wearing a cast on his left hand and forearm as he met with reporters on Tuesday.
"It's still questionable," Mathis said when asked if he'll play. "Hopefully, I can go."
As important as Mathis is to the Jaguars' game plan on defense, it would seem his questionable status for Sunday's game is being upstaged by Fisher's gamesmanship regarding his starting quarterback.