|Young working to improve after Offensive Rookie of Year honor|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 21 June 2007 14:16|
Parties at the Super Bowl and the Kentucky Derby. Charity work for his own foundation and serving as poster boy to remind children to drink more milk. And despite the talk of jinxes, the Tennessee quarterback and NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year will be on the cover of the Madden NFL '08 video game.
It's been a packed schedule, enough to exhaust or distract the most organized of people, but not Young.
Coach Jeff Fisher said he wasn't concerned about his rising star becoming complacent or slipping into a sophomore slump.
``We encouraged him to get away and enjoy his time off, and he did. After the New England game, he said, `I have a long ways to go, and I'm going to get there and bring everybody with me.' He didn't take that loss very well, and he's certainly motivated up to this point,'' Fisher said.
The first quarterback taken in the 2006 draft, Young more than lived up to the hype about his potential by taking over an 0-4 team and leading them to an 8-8 finish, including four stunning comebacks.
Picking between his best rookie moments isn't easy. The 39-yard touchdown run in overtime in his hometown of Houston? Or perhaps his two TD passes and another score with his the legs in the dazzling comeback from 21-0 in final 10 minutes of a 24-21 win over the New York Giants?
Some rookies might have replayed the highlight DVD over and over to soak in the moments.
But offensive coordinator Norm Chow has been impressed by how Young has balanced personal and football commitments this offseason.
``This guy is unique, no question he's unique ... ,'' Chow said. ``He's a very, very competitive young man. He's used to winning. He's used to being a leader, so it all fits very well.''
Young has spent the offseason working on being more consistent with his footwork and follow-through to boost his 51.5 completion percentage.
He lost his top receiver, Drew Bennett, to free agency. So he invited his current batch of receivers to Houston for a week of work to keep building on the chemistry being developed in the Titans' offseason program - and paid the tab.
Ask Young about his receivers, he immediately jumps to their defense, saying they are being doubted just as he has.
``I really feel like they can do it. I've got a lot of confidence in them,'' Young said of a receiving corps whose only healthy members with at least 16 starts are Brandon Jones and free-agent signee Justin Gage.
Center Kevin Mawae, heading into his 14th season, has been pleasantly surprised by Young's development as a leader at such a young age.
``He's showing more confidence not just in his ability but in the position of being the starting quarterback, of being in the NFL and being a leader in this locker room,'' Mawae said. ``He's only going to get better as the years go on.''
On Thursday, Young was the focus of lots of attention.
He concluded the Titans' final open minicamp session this offseason, talked to reporters before a photo shoot, then sat down for an interview with a crew from ``60 Minutes.''
Capping the day was a dinner and auction for his foundation, which provides funds to nonprofit agencies working with children in Tennessee and his hometown of Houston.
Young knows defenses will be working hard to stop the man who set the NFL rookie rushing record for quarterbacks with 553 yards and seven touchdowns. He also became the first player in NFL history with three rushing TDs and three passing TDs of 20 yards or longer.
``All I can do is play my game. I can't worry about what they're going to try to do. All I know is when Coach calls this or this or that, I have to execute the play. If it's a run or a pass, whatever it takes to win a ballgame, that's what I'm going to do,'' he said.
``At the same time, it's not all about me. I know the rest of the guys are going to make plays as well.''