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Theismann on VY: '31-19 doesn't cut it one bit'

By Tim Graham

Joe Theismann knows why the Buffalo Bills signed Vince Young. But he has no idea whether Young ever will figure out how to become a complete NFL quarterback. He said only Young can decide that.

Theismann, the former Washington Redskins quarterback who won a Super Bowl and an MVP award, is in the Ralph Wilson Stadium press box for tonight's preseason game between his old team and the Bills.

We had a chance to chat about quarterbacks for a few minutes before kickoff.

To summarize: He's a Ryan Fitzpatrick fan, but is skeptical of Young.

"He's too good of a talent for a team not to take a chance on," Theismann said of Young. "He's a great athlete that happened to play the quarterback position. He's a nice guy."

But ...

"Where he is right now, he's not good enough to be a starter in the National Football League," Theismann said. "I don't care what his record is; 31-19 doesn't cut it one bit to me because what he had as a complement to the [Tennessee Titans'] backfield had nothing to do with throwing the ball."

Theismann claimed Young doesn't pass between the numbers well enough. Defenses merely need to keep him in the pocket and prevent him from scrambling to beat him.

Game-planning deficiencies aren't the half of it, though. Theismann still condemns Young for the way he acted at the end of his Tennessee Titans tenure.

"The thing that got me was discipline," Theismann said. "You can't talk to a head coach the way he did. You can't act like that. You can't disappear. You can't gesture to fans.

"You need discipline in your life, and you need discipline in your game. Those are the two things he has not proven that he has to my satisfaction."

Fitzpatrick elicits a totally opposite reaction. Theismann is optimistic Fitzpatrick will serve the Bills well in 2012.

"I think he has all the abilities that are necessary to play this game at a very high level," Theismann said. "The thing that is unique is that he's in an offense that requires quick decisions. Ryan's going to give you quick decisions, smart decisions.

"He tends sometimes to get a little streaky, but you have to work hard at that. I know he's conscientious enough to want to get better. He can move to another level this year."

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |