The Green Bay Packers are – stop us if you’ve heard this before – young.
The NFL’s annual analysis of Week 1 rosters is complete, and the Packers are the fifth-youngest team in the league with an average age of 25.55 years. Cleveland’s average age is a youngest-in-the-league 25.06. The Browns are followed by Los Angeles at 25.11, Kansas City at 25.42 and Denver at 25.49.
“I think balance in life is important to have a success, and I think it’s no different when you have a roster,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said last week. “I don’t think you go out and say, ‘I need this many first-year players, this many second-year players.’ If you’re going about it the right way, the competition is real. And I think if you look at the 11 … 53-man rosters that we’ve had here, we’ve always been young. We were a 25-year-old football team, I think, it’s almost every year. So, after the first three years, I don’t even look at the rankings anymore. We’re the youngest team in the league the first three years. I don’t know if it’s changed much. But I know the league’s changed. We’ve kind of followed the same format all 11 years and it’s healthy. The important thing is, too, we want to train our guys, we want to develop our own players, and ultimately those are the guys getting paid. I mean that’s the way we prefer to do business. But obviously it has to work out that way.”
McCarthy is right: The Packers are no strangers to being young under general manager Ted Thompson. Some of that is by necessity. This is his 12th roster. The Packers have been among the 10 youngest teams in each of those seasons. Even with 12 rookies on the 53-man roster for Week 1, the Packers actually aged a bit this year. Here are his rosters:
2005 — 26.19 (9th-tied)
2006 — 25.57 (1st)
2007 — 25.72 (1st)
2008 — 25.57 (1st-tied)
2009 — 25.70 (1st)
2010 — 25.92 (5th)
2011 — 25.74 (3rd-tied)
2012 — 25.70 (6th)
2013 — 25.64 (9th)
2014 — 25.75 (8th)
2015 — 25.23 (2nd)
2016 — 25.55 (5th)
This year, the league-average age is 26.11 years.
The NFL continues to get younger. This year's 25.55 would have been the youngest in the league in 2006, McCarthy's first season as coach. Moreover, according to Pro Football Reference, there were 18 players ages 35-and-up on rosters last season. (And, for the sake of this story, we are defining players as all positions other than quarterback, punter and kicker). In 2010, there were 31. Taken further, in 2015, there were seven players ages 35-and-up who started at least 10 games. In 2010, there were 17.
The Packers have 14 rookies and first-year players on the roster. Cleveland (18), Seattle (16), Denver (15) and the Jets (15) are the only teams with more. The average is 10.78.
The Packers have seven players age 30 and older; the league average is 8.16. The average Packers player has 3.72 years of experience; the league average is 4.09.
In other tale-of-the-tape numbers, the average Packers player is:
-- 6.17 feet tall; the league average is 6.18.
-- 244.19 pounds; the league average is 245.86. Interestingly, the Packers’ average weight was 249.72 last year.
In the NFC North, Bears’ average age is 26.04 with 3.75 years of experience. They have 12 rookies and first-year players and nine players ages 30-plus. The Lions’ average age is 26.02 with 3.92 years of experience. They have 12 rookies and first-year players and seven players ages 30-plus. The Vikings’ average age is 26.66 (fifth-oldest) with 4.55 years of experience. They have an NFL-low six rookies and first-year players and seven players ages 30-plus.
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.
TALE OF THE TAPE
A look at NFL rosters, listed in order of the number of 300-pounders on the Week 1 roster.
|TEAM||UNDER 200 LBS.||UNDER 6-FEET||OVER 300 LBS.|