A plan for the Redskins to get younger: Defense

A plan for the Redskins to get younger: Defense
January 27, 2011, 4:40 pm
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Thursday, January 27, 2011 11:45 AM

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By Rich Tandler
Redskins Blogger
CSNwashington.com

Here we are presenting a plan for the Redskins to get younger, to get just below the NFL average age of 27.2 years old. You can get the full setup from the article earlier this week where the changes that could be made on the offensive side of the ball were explored but here are the main points:
Everyone agrees that the Redskins need to get younger but nobody seems to know how to do it.
In order to get from their average age of 27.8 years old at the end of the 2010 down to an average of 27.0 for opening day of 2011, the Redskins would have to make changes that amount to a net reduction of 96 years (i. e., replacing a 30-year-old player with a 23 year old would be a net reduction of seven years).
In this article, the 53-man roster for Week 14 of 2010 was used; all birthdays are as of 12312011 and the ages are rounded to the nearest whole year.
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.

When taking the hypothetical scalpel to the offense on Tuesday we reduced the net age of the offense by 45 years so there are 51 years of age that we still have to reduce. However, it does not all have to come from the defense.

Were not going to do a separate article on the specialists but when these calculations were done, Hunter Smith (34) was still the punter. Lets say that either Sam Paulescu (25) or someone his age is the punter. That takes off nine years, leaving 42 net years to come from the defense.

Defensive line

Albert Haynesworth was suspended when the average age was calculated here so he is out of the equation and is likely to remain so. Of the seven defensive linemen on the roster, four of them, Phillip Daniels (39), Vonnie Holliday (36), Anthony Bryant (30), and Maake Kemoeatu (33) will be over 30. Bryant will be either the starting nose tackle or the backup so he is staying. The other three could be role players but in a youth movement some of the roles have to be filled by less experienced players.

To get younger, two of the three will have to be released. Lets say its Daniels and Kemoeatu and they are replaced by a 28-year-old free agent and a 24-year-old draftee. That takes 20 years off of the net age leaving 22 to go.

Linebacker

This unit is relatively youthful as it is with only London Fletcher (37) and Andre Carter (33) over the age of 30. Fletcher is the heart and soul of the defense and he isnt going anywhere. Carter, however, is due a 5 million option bonus this year and he is likely to be playing elsewhere in 2011. The Redskins could locate a 28-year-old free agent to take his place and that would reduce the net age by five years.

Rob Jackson (26) was on the practice squad when the age was calculated and if he shows something on special teams he could replace Chris Wilson (29), a reduction of three years.

It seems likely that unrestricted free agent Rocky McIntosh (29) will look for greener pastures in a 4-3 defense and the team could replace him with a 23-year-old draft pick. H. B. Blades (27) also is a free agent but even if the doesnt re-sign we will assume that his replacement will be around the same age.

With 14 net years taken off of the linebacker corps, that brings us to a reduction of 34 years. Can we find the other eight years in the defensive backfield?

Defensive backs

Both of the cornerbacks who will be over 30, Phillip Buchanon (31) and Carlos Rogers (30), will be unrestricted free agents. The guess here is that Rodgers will go and Buchanon will stay. Since they dont necessarily want Buchanon as the starter, they might bring in a 27-year-old free agent in Rogers spot.

None of the safeties will be over 30 but Reed Doughty will be 29. Perhaps Macho Harris could move into his role as a utility safety and a 24-year-old draft pick could take Doughtys place on the roster.

Those moves would take off eight years, bringing the total to 41 on defense. Add that to reductions of 45 years on offense and nine years at punter and there is the total of 95, one short of what we were looking for but small enough to be a rounding error. These moves would bring the average age of the Redskins to just a shade over 27.0 years, which would be under the league average of 27.2. After years of being older than most NFL teams, that would be progress.

The way this was drawn up, three defensive starters were replaced in Kemoeatu, McIntosh, and Rogers. Three starters also were replaced on offense in Donovan McNabb, Santana Moss, and Artis Hicks.

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @RealRedskins. Rich also writes about the Skins at www.RealRedskins.com.