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TheEngineer  
#1 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 9:08:21 AM(UTC)
http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=790880


Quote:
Youth was served last season when the Green Bay Packers, the youngest team in the National Football League, leaped to 13-3 and a berth in the NFC Championship Game.

Now the Packers will be looking to take their kiddie corps a step further with a 53-man roster that's even younger than it was in 2007 and the same exact age as it was in 2006.

"I hope it's the last year we're talking about how young we are," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday. "That's three years in a row."

Based on opening-day rosters, the Packers ranked as the NFL's youngest team a year ago with an average age of 25.74 years. They also were the youngest in '06 with a 25.57 average.

Although the NFL hasn't completed its statistical analysis of '08 rosters, it's quite possible that Green Bay and its 25.57 average will be No. 1 for the third year in a row. The last time the Packers had a younger opening-day roster dates to coach Forrest Gregg's anti-veteran kick in 1986 (25.3).

"We're not young for young's sake," Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson said. "We have a fair number of guys that are juniors and sophomores and this year's freshman class, and it kind of skews it a little bit."

Twelve months ago, Thompson broached the possibility of becoming a more veteran team by drafting fewer players in 2008. Then, when April rolled around, he was back at it again, trading down four times (he went up once) and turning eight selections into nine players plus an extra sixth-round choice in 2009.

That gave the Packers a league-high 43 choices during Thompson's four drafts. Elsewhere in the NFC North Division since 2005, Chicago has drafted 34 players, Detroit has selected 30 and Minnesota has taken 26.

Based on current 53-man rosters, Thompson has hit on about the same percentage of picks as his division brethren. The Packers have 26 of those 43 picks on their present 53-man roster, a 60.5% rate that is only slightly higher than Chicago's (58.8%, 20 of 34), Minnesota's (57.7%, 15 of 26) and Detroit's (56.7%, 17 of 30).

It's the sheer number of picks accumulated by Thompson that has helped make Green Bay the youngest club in the NFC North four straight years.

After the Packers, the Bears average 26.47 years, the Vikings average 26.70 and the Lions average 27.36, making them the division's oldest team for the sixth time in eight years.

Just 10 of the current 53 players were acquired before Thompson took over in January 2005. McCarthy, who inherited 66 players from Mike Sherman in January 2006, is coaching 17 players (13 starters) who played for Sherman.

"It had to change, and it's taken us long to get the team to look like the way it needs to look, frankly," McCarthy said. "The thing I keep going back to, our players are young. You think about how much football these guys have played and they're in their second and third seasons . . . they're going to get better."

In all, the Packers have just 12 players on their 53-man roster who weren't on their active roster or injured-reserve list in '07. Eight of the 12 are draft choices.

Since the football renaissance in Green Bay began in 1992, the smallest number of newcomers on an opening-day roster has been 12. In addition to this year, there were 12 in 1997 and 2001. McCarthy coached 23 newcomers in 2006, 14 more in '07.

"I didn't think we had that many," said Thompson, who had only 10 before free agents Derrick Frost and Brett Goode were signed Monday. "I think it's a hard team to make. If you have a good club, then incumbents are inherently pretty good players so the bar is higher. Continuity is a good thing, too."

Besides the eight draft choices, the newcomers also include running back Kregg Lumpkin and linebacker Brandon Chillar. Lumpkin was the only one of 15 undrafted rookies to make it; long snapper J.J. Jansen would have made two before he injured his knee.

None of the 12 is starting. In fact, the Packers have just two new starters: Aaron Rodgers for Brett Favre at quarterback and Johnny Jolly for Corey Williams at defensive tackle.

McCarthy had 10 new starters in 2006, five in '07. From 1994-'07, the only other year in which merely two starting jobs changed hands was 2004.

"That's a good stat," Thompson said. "I think our core behind our starters is better, so some of these guys have had to fight off some challenges. That's all good."

For the fourth straight year, the Packers led the NFC North in the number of rookies and first-year players on the roster. They had 10, giving them a total of 51 since 2005. Chicago was a distant second with 32, followed by Detroit and Minnesota with 28.

Thompson insisted that he didn't necessarily believe the NFL has to be a young man's game.

"You can't have everybody 22 years old," he said. "Some people will mention the two corners but I think our two corners are two of our better players. I'm not concerned about their age. And I don't know if you'd qualify (tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher) as old yet."

Both Thompson and McCarthy spoke highly of the team's depth, although McCarthy acknowledged the quarterback position might be a problem.

"The inexperience at quarterback will be talked about until next year," he said. "We have to develop two young quarterbacks. But I like the mix of the other groups, I really do."

McCarthy called the depth at linebackers "the best it's been since I've been here." And he spoke highly of the cornerback position, where Charles Woodson and Al Harris are backed by four players averaging 24 years of age.

The starting offense has an average age of 25.12 and the starting defense averages 26.12.

Green Bay has merely six players 30 years or older, a far cry from Sherman's teams in 2001 and '02 that had 13 and 12 players, respectively.


Interesting article about the Packers ages/experience.

Notable quotes:

Both Thompson and McCarthy spoke highly of the team's depth, although McCarthy acknowledged the quarterback position might be a problem.

"The inexperience at quarterback will be talked about until next year," he said. "We have to develop two young quarterbacks. But I like the mix of the other groups, I really do."
Cheesey  
#2 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 9:13:34 AM(UTC)
I LIKE that we are young. These guys will grow together as a team.
And really, though we are young age wise, we have some expierienced guys. Driver and Jennings for example.
Greg C.  
#3 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 9:24:15 AM(UTC)
The retirement of Favre kind of skews the age number. The Packers lost 17 years of experience right there. But because they returned 20 of 22 starters, they gained 20 years by default. So it's pretty much a wash in terms of the starters. As for backups and special teams players, the loss of Rob Davis was the biggie. He had 11 years of experience.

So really, it's the loss of the team's two oldest players that caused the team's average age to stay about the same. It is significant to lose players with that kind of experience--especially Favre. My point is that it wasn't a conscious effort by Thompson to stay young across the entire roster. There is a lot more stability now, which should offset the youth to some extent.
Zero2Cool  
#4 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 11:40:35 AM(UTC)
Quote:
Green Bay - Youth was served last season when the Green Bay Packers, the youngest team in the National Football League, leaped to 13-3 and a berth in the NFC Championship Game.

[img_r]http://graphics.jsonline.com/graphics/packer/img/news/sep08/xgreg03.jpg[/img_r]The 24-year-old Greg Jennings is part of a wave of recently drafted young talent that is making the Packers one of the youngest teams in the league.


edit, removed a large portion... no need to waste space
warhawk  
#5 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 11:42:44 AM(UTC)
What is incredibly unique about this is the fact we are the youngest team in the NFL yet we are starting twenty of twenty two players that started last year.

I believe the improvement curve there would be huge yet it appears most out there (and all Vikes fans) feel THEIR teams are somehow passing us up.

It's not sexy or headline news like a big name FA coming in but having about 15 guys starting that are going into their seecond, third, and fourth years which normally are big improvement stepping stones is a lot LARGER than many give it credit for.
Zero2Cool  
#6 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 11:51:53 AM(UTC)
Err, double post. He used a different topic! :P
TheEngineer  
#7 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 12:03:48 PM(UTC)
I just called it as I saw it (literally!)
Zero2Cool  
#8 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 12:05:55 PM(UTC)
" said: Go to Quoted Post
I just called it as I saw it (literally!)


Mine has pictures :P
zombieslayer  
#9 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 1:48:43 PM(UTC)
43 choices in 4 drafts?
That's insane. What else is crazy is how many are still on the team.
digsthepack  
#10 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 2:07:12 PM(UTC)
Crazy?? Look at the depth and talent of this team.......that is what 43 picks in 4 years delivers!
warhawk  
#11 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 3:14:33 PM(UTC)
" said: Go to Quoted Post
Crazy?? Look at the depth and talent of this team.......that is what 43 picks in 4 years delivers!


Yeah, we're having to let go guys that would have started in '05. The forty five we suit up Monday Night are so much better, as a whole, than three years ago it's INSANE.

I also give Ted Thompson credit for having the ability to let go of guys at the right time. He put Green, Hondo, Wahle, Rivera, Flanny, and others, on the road at a point where the cost of keeping them would no way have been worth what they produced from there on out.

Can you imagine if we were counting on A. Green to carry our running game. It makes me shutter. I mean good luck Houston and all, but geez, that's just not going to work.

Even the J. Walker deal turned out after ALL the CRAP Ted Thompson TOOK about that deal. The kind of money he wanted at that time (when cap money was really tight also by the way) and all the injuries he's had since then?

You can get nit picky about a guy let go here or there that had maybe one good year since but overall Ted Thompson has been very efficient in this area.
TengoJuego  
#12 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 3:41:03 PM(UTC)
" said: Go to Quoted Post
" said: Go to Quoted Post
I just called it as I saw it (literally!)


Mine has pictures :P


LMAO...I like that picture of Gregorious.
Packnic  
#13 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 4:55:35 PM(UTC)
The NFL is a young man's game, and right now NO ONE is doing it better.
zombieslayer  
#14 Posted : Thursday, September 4, 2008 5:07:58 PM(UTC)
" said: Go to Quoted Post


Yeah, we're having to let go guys that would have started in '05. The forty five we suit up Monday Night are so much better, as a whole, than three years ago it's INSANE.

I also giveTed Thompsoncredit for having the ability to let go of guys at the right time. He put Green, Hondo, Wahle, Rivera, Flanny, and others, on the road at a point where the cost of keeping them would no way have been worth what they produced from there on out.

Can you imagine if we were counting on A. Green to carry our running game. It makes me shutter. I mean good luck Houston and all, but geez, that's just not going to work.

Even the J. Walker deal turned out after ALL the CRAPTed ThompsonTOOK about that deal. The kind of money he wanted at that time (when cap money was really tight also by the way) and all the injuries he's had since then?

You can get nit picky about a guy let go here or there that had maybe one good year since but overallTed Thompsonhas been very efficient in this area.


Warhawk - As much as you and I disagreed about the whole Favre situation, I'm in complete agreement with you here. I love Ahman Green, but knew in '06 he was already a shell of what he used to be.

I was bummed when the Walker deal didn't work out, but within a year realized Ted Thompson made the right decision.

To tell you the truth, I didn't know that much about salary cap until I started reading that other website, and realized Ted Thompson was right about that. He's done a fine job with the salary cap.

It's a good thing to be young. We have a long future this way, and we should be good for years to come.
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