Tuesday, January 25, 2011 3:59 PM
By Rich Tandler
REDSKINS PAGE REDSKINS VIDEO
The Washington Redskins need to get younger Mike Shanahan wants to. Bruce Allen wants to. Fans want to. Bloggers, talk radio hosts, writers, and all manner of other commentators think that it is absolutely necessary. So everyone agrees that it needs to be done. Thats great, but everyone agrees that we need to reduce the federal deficit, too. The disagreement comes in how to get it done. Some want the Redskins to part ways with running back Clinton Portis, who will be 30 on opening day opening day 2011. Others would like to see him back as a role player at a reduced salary. At 35, defensive end Vonnie Holliday has a lot left in the tank. But would it be better to give his snaps to someone younger like 23-year-old Jeremy Jarmon. In 2010, the average player on an NFL roster was 27.2 years old (all average ages are as of 12312010; NFL Week 14 53-man active rosters). The average Redskin was 27.8 years old, tied for the sixth oldest in the NFL. What would the Redskins have to do to get slightly below the league average age, say down to 27.0? It is important to note that building an NFL roster is not a mathematical exercise. It is a matter of fitting talent to needs. The purpose here is to show the kinds of choices that will have to be made if the Redskins are to get in the middle of the pack when it comes to having a young team. Shaving off 0.8 of a year to get down to an average of 27 might not seem like much. Whats nine months a man? But, by doing nothing, the Redskins will get a year older. Assuming that the average age league wide stays the same, and it usually does, the team will have to drop 1.8 years per player. That means that the team would have to drop a total of about 96 years in order to get to the average age. Today well look at how the offense can contribute to the youth movement. Later this week, it will be the defenses turn to take a drink at the Fountain of Youth. Offensive backs It is possible that the Redskins will draft two quarterbacks in April; one early in the draft to to be the starter by late 2011 or the start of 2012 and another developmental quarterback late in the draft. The earlier drafted quarterback would replace Donovan McNabb (35 as of 12312011, all ages rounded to nearest whole number) and the one taken later would replace John Beck (30). Rex Grossman (31) would stay on the roster to start until the rookie is ready. Im not going to put names next to all of the potential replacements but here lets say that the Redskins draft Jake Locker (23) of Washington in the first round and Greg McElroy (23) of Alabama in the latter stages. That shaves off 19 years at one position. But there is not much age that can be shed at the running back spot. Portis already was on injured reserve when the average was calculated so he would only add to the average should the team decide to retain his services. Even if the Redskins decide to replace Ryan Torain (25), Keiland Williams (25), James Davis (26), or Andre Brown (25), the player coming in is unlikely to be significantly younger. Fullback is a part-time position in the Redskins offense so the Redskins could decide to stay with Mike Sellers (36) and backup Darrel Young (24). Although it would not be surprising to see Young get more offensive snaps and for Sellers to focus more on special teams, Sellers is likely to stay on the roster. Receiverstight ends First, lets dispense with the tight ends. Chris Cooley (29), Fred Davis (26), and Logan Paulsen (25) are not going anywhere so there are no years to be shaved there. Joey Galloway (ancient) already had been released by the time the ages were averaged so the easy savings of replacing him on the roster with Terrence Austin (23) already have been taken. Anthony Armstrong (29) will be an old second-year player but, of course, he isnt going anywhere. Neither is Brandon Banks (24). Santana Moss (33) is a free agent and he could well decide to finish his career elsewhere and Roydell Williams (31) was unproductive and is unlikely to make the team. Well replace those two with free agent wide receiver Jacoby Jones (27) and a draft pick around 23 years old. That takes off 14 years. Offensive line The two oldest members of this unit are Casey Rabach (34) and Artis Hicks (33), both of whom started for most or all of the season. Neither was particularly effective but at least one of them is likely to stay. Lets say that Hicks goes and is replaced by a 23-year-old draft pick. By the end of the season Selvish Capers (26) was on the roster. Well keep him there and jettison Stephon Heyer (28) to shave off a couple more years. By the time this average was taken Erik Cook (24) already was on the roster. So we have lowered the age of the offensive line by 12 years. Add that to the 14 taken out of the receiver corps and the 19 from the backs and you have 45 net years of age removed from the offense. That is not quite halfway to the 96 needed to reduce the average age to 27. Of the 11 players who started most of the season, threeMcNabb, Moss, and Hickswould be replaced. On Friday, well look at changes that could be made on the defensive side of the ball.You can reach Rich Tandler by email atRTandlerCSN@comcast.netand follow him on Twitter @RealRedskins. Rich also writes about the Skins atwww.RealRedskins.com.