Notebook: Carolina Dethrones Packers

The Packers are no longer the NFL's youngest team, plus a Dimitri Nantz update, injury news and more from Thursday.

No need to schedule an old-timers game, but the Green Bay Packers are no longer the NFL's youngest team.

After holding that distinction for the last four years, either outright or tied, this year's edition of the Packers is merely the fifth-youngest in the NFL.

The average age on the 53-man roster is 25.92 years old. Carolina is the youngest at 25.15, followed by Jacksonville at 25.58, and Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Houston at 25.98.

In the NFC North, Detroit's average age is 26.34, followed by Chicago at 27.15 and Minnesota at 27.38. The Bears and Vikings trail only Washington among NFC teams. The Redskins' average age is 27.70. Cleveland is the AFC's oldest team at 27.49.

The average experience on the Packers' roster is 4.06 years. Carolina is the least-experienced team with 3.30 years of experience. Miami is next with 3.47. Washington is the most-experienced team with 5.43 years of experience. The Bears are right behind at 5.42, with Minnesota at 5.28 and Detroit with 4.36 to round out the North.

The Packers have 11 players who are rookies or in their first year. Minnesota has six, Detroit seven and Chicago 10. Denver and Tampa Bay have 15 each; San Diego has just four.

Green Bay has seven players ages 30 and over. Minnesota has 14 (one off the NFC lead), Chicago 13 and Detroit nine. Cleveland has a whopping 18 players who are 30 and over while Miami has just four.

Green Bay is big and tall. The Packers have 14 300-pound players. Only Dallas (17) and Denver (15) have more. The Packers have only seven players who are less than 6 feet tall. Only the Giants (five) have fewer.

Meanwhile, among colleges, Texas has 40 players in the NFL, followed by Miami's 38, USC's 36, LSU's 35, Ohio State's 34 and Florida, Georgia and Tennessee with 33.

Nance ready to roll?

It's not out of the questions that newly acquired running back Dimitri Nance will be active for Sunday's game.

To be certain, Nance won't know the entire playbook but he could know enough of the plays to help spell Brandon Jackson. Knowing what's going on in the passing game, however, is more important than the running game.

"To be honest with you, I probably need to get with EB (Edgar Bennett) and check to see what kind of progress he's making and how comfortable we are," offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. "With the ball, he's got some nice skills. The thing that we always concern ourselves with running backs is their protection ability. That's a little bit hard to gauge. Sometimes, you've got to have a little bit of blind faith because you don't do a lot of live blitz pickup this time of year."

We did check with Bennett. He is especially impressed with Nance's balance, as well as his quick feet, change-of-direction skills and soft hands.

But is he smart enough to help out a little after just a handful of days in town?

"It's still early," Bennett said. "We have a few more days before we make that call. I'll say this: What the kid has shown so far in the classroom and being able to take it out the practice field and apply it, he's moving at a pretty good pace."

Packers injury report

Did not participate — LB Desmond Bishop (hamstring) and CB Charles Woodson (toe). Limited participation — LT Chad Clifton (knee), DE Cullen Jenkins (hand), LB Clay Matthews (hamstring), DE Mike Neal (side/rib) and CB Brandon Underwood (shoulder). Full participation — S Derrick Martin (ankle).

"Well, it's the big toe, and it was a pretty good injury on Friday," coach Mike McCarthy said when asked if Woodson will be dealing with this injury all season. "He made it through the game, and we'll just judge it week to week."

McCarthy said Neal "made progress" but how he feels on Friday will play a big role in the rookie's availability for Sunday. Matthews' hamstring feels better than Wednesday after a second day of limited work.

Bills injury report

Did not participate — S Cary Harris (hamstring) and LB Paul Posluszny (knee). Full participation — LB Antonio Coleman (hamstring), C Geoff Hangartner (ankle) and LB Reggie Torbor (chest).

Hangartner, the starting center, was back after sitting out Wednesday for precautionary reasons.

Four-point stance

— On Wednesday, the Green Bay Press-Gazette talked to A.J. Hawk's agent, with Mike McCartney saying his client would be open to a trade. McCarthy said he didn't talk to Hawk about that story on Thursday and said Hawk remains in the team's plans. "A.J. Hawk is a very good football player. You can't always put just 11 players on the field that are good players. I will not apologize for having more than 11 good defensive football players on our team. I've discussed this with our football team at the beginning of the season. It's tough to utilize those guys, but those are good problems. This is something we've been building as a personnel department and we're very thankful we have A.J. Hawk and a number of other very good players."

— It rained all night and it was windy during practice, but the team was outside at Clarke Hinkle Field. "It was good for us to get outside today with the wind conditions," Philbin said. "It wasn't ideal for a quarterback but we threw against the wind, with the wind, and (Aaron Rodgers) looked good throwing the ball."

— One way to bolster the running game would be more sets with tight ends Jermichael Finley, Donald Lee and Tom Crabtree. "You've got some big athletes who play with a little bit of swagger who like to be on the field together," tight ends coach Ben McAdoo said. "I think they bring some good energy to the table. Of course, I like seeing all those guys in the huddle at the same time."

— While T.J. Lang is listed as the backup right tackle, he was inactive for Philadelphia. That meant first-round pick Bryan Bulaga would have replaced Mark Tauscher.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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