The Bengals are young.
Those were the echoing prognostications when someone wanted to shred a team that struggled against teams that they shouldn't have, and eventually lost a game in the postseason that marked their third-consecutive first-round exit. They're young. They'll get better. It takes time.
According to Football Perspective, the Bengals were the ninth-youngest team in the NFL last season with an average age of 26.7 years old. Their defense has a bulk of the team's veterans, averaging 27.1 years old -- which ranks 21st in the NFL. Their offense, on the other hand, is the fourth-youngest with an average age of 26 years old. Does that mean Terence Newman and James Harrison single-handedly weighed down Cincinnati's defense into a bunch of old dudes?
The key in Football Perspective's analysis isn't just the average age of every player either -- rather weighing more on specific players, such as starters or key contributors. They write:
You don’t want to calculate the average age of a 53-man roster and call that the "team age" because the age of a team’s starters is much more relevant than the age of a team’s reserves. The average age of a team’s starting lineup isn’t perfect, either. The age of the quarterback and key offensive and defensive players should count for more than the age of a less relevant starter. Ideally, you want to calculate a team’s average age by placing greater weight on the team’s most relevant players.
What does this all mean? Nothing really. Age is a matter of experience in the NFL -- not the arbitrary number for how long someone has been walking on planet Earth. Does it matter that A.J. Green is 25 years old? Or that he has completed three seasons -- which each season resulted in a Pro Bowl bid?
Either way. Fun for the offseason.