Eagles Wake-Up Call: How Young Is Birds’ Roster?

When Chip Kelly was introduced as the Eagles’ head coach earlier this month, he was asked if he believes the team is capable of making a quick turnaround in 2013.

“I’m still in the process of evaluating that,” Kelly said. “The one thing that attracts me about the roster is the youth. It’s one of the youngest teams in the league. You have to watch about three plays to understand the speed. Youth and speed are two things you can’t coach. I’m excited about that.”

The point about youth is worth exploring. Coaches and GMs constantly talk about how young their teams are. Sometimes, it’s used as a built-in excuse. And other times, well, it’s the truth.

In Kelly’s case, for the most part, it’s the latter.

Our buddy Jimmy Kempski over at BloggingTheBeast.com took a look at all 32 teams back in September and found that the Birds had the second-youngest roster with an average age of 25.55. More recently, Danny Tuccitto of Football Outsiders introduced a new metric: snap-weighted age. The idea is simple. Instead of simply using average roster age, why not look at snap counts too? In other words, how old are the players that are actually on the field?

Football Outsiders found that the Eagles were the 13th-youngest team in that respect. Offensively, they had the 16th-youngest group. Defensively, the 10th-youngest.

There is a pretty good chance that the Eagles will get even younger this offseason. Veterans like Michael Vick (32) and Nnamdi Asomugha (31) very well could be gone. And while there are still plenty of moves to be made, if we had to project starters right now, four would be 30 years or older: Evan Mathis (31), Trent Cole (30), Todd Herremans (30) and Jason Peters (30). You could throw Cullen Jenkins (31) in there too.

Meanwhile, they have a number of core guys 25 or under: Jason Kelce (25), Brandon Graham (24), LeSean McCoy (24), Brandon Boykin (22), Fletcher Cox (22), Mychal Kendricks (22) and Bryce Brown (21).

So overall, the Eagles do have quite a bit of youth making up the core of their roster.

In the next two months, Kelly and Howie Roseman will decide which direction the arrow points going forward. That starts with a decision on Vick by Feb. 6, and continues with the start of free agency on March 12.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Tim talked to Brian Dawkins about Ed Donatell. B-Dawk offered a ringing endorsement.

Steve Spagnuolo is now on the market. Should the Eagles consider him?

From mock drafts to Chip Kelly, here’s a roundup of what the national media are saying.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Interesting nugget on Nnamdi Asomugha, courtesy of CSNPhilly.com’s Geoff Mosher:

Regarding Asomugha, one former Eagles coach said the corner’s game had declined years ago, which means the three teams that hotly pursued Asomugha after the lockout — the Eagles, Cowboys and Jets — were more enticed by the name than they were dedicated to studying the tape.

Speaking to the Eagles’ Web site, draft analyst Tony Pauline says Florida International safety Jonathan Cyprien helped himself in Mobile:

Cyprien stood out as the best safety in attendance at the Senior Bowl and displayed a complete game. The ability to swiftly get outside the numbers and make plays in coverage was impressive as was his run-stuffing ability.

COMING UP

We’ll have the latest on the search for a defensive coordinator and more draft nuggets.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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