Tuesday, September 09, 2008

How Old?

I've noticed a theme in sports talk radio, particularly now that Brady has gone down, that the age of the Patriots defense is a major concern this season. Certainly now that Brady is out, the defense matters a hell of a lot more, but I'm not sure I understand all this old age talk. Let's take a look at how old the Patriots defense actually is. Here are the week one starters:

Richard Seymour 28
Vince Wilfork 26
Ty Warren 27
Mike Vrabel 33
Tedy Bruschi 35
Jerod Mayo 22
Adalius Thomas 31
Lewis Sanders 30
Ellis Hobbs 25
Rodney Harrison 35
James Sanders 24

Now, we all know Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi are getting old. Other than the two of them though, where are the age problems on this defense? Mike Vrabel may be 33, but he had what many consider to be his best year last season. And Adalius Thomas may be 31, but this is only his second year on the team and I didn't hear a word about his being too old when the Patriots signed him before the '07 season. The only other 30-something in the lineup was Lewis Sanders, a journeyman corner who should only be holding down the job until second round draft pick Terrance Wheatley is ready.

All of the defensive linemen are in their prime and their are young players sprinkled throughout the defense. The real question this season for the Patriots defense seems to be can the young players actually step up. If so, this can be one of the better defenses in the league. The real questions are how good a run stopper can Jerod Mayo be and can the young players in the secondary- Whealey and last year's first round pick Brandon Meriweather- be assets rather than liabilities.


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