FanPost

Age and the OL - Why the 2010 Cowboys could be all sizzle, no steak

Walter Jones just retired.  Flozell Adams was cut.  Kevin Mawae can’t seem to get a sniff from a single NFL team.  Longtime NFL starters Jon Jansen and Barry Sims are now relegated to backup roles.  Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan are all but done.  Casey Wiegmann is likely to lose a training camp battle for a starting job.  What’s going on here?!?  A lot of people seem to think that running backs are done when they get into their early 30’s, and while that may be true, it pales in comparison to the recent trends with aging offensive linemen.

For this study, I asked the fans of all 32 teams who they thought their starting 5 would be along their respective O Lines entering the 2010 season.  I then cross-compared that with the depth charts posted on various NFL websites, and listed in order every projected OL starter in the NFL from oldest to youngest.  See the results after the jump.

By player (as of April 30, 2010)...

Age Rank Player Team Position Birthdate Days on Earth Age







1 Jeff Saturday Colts C 18-Jun-75 12735 34 years, 10 months, 12 days
2 Chad Clifton Packers LT 26-Jun-76 12361 33 years, 10 months, 4 days
3 Matt Birk Ravens C 23-Jul-76 12334 33 years, 9 months, 7 days
4 Cornell Green Bills RT 25-Aug-76 12301 33 years, 8 months, 5 days
5 Bobbie Williams Bengals RG 25-Sep-76 12270 33 years, 7 months, 5 days
6 Stephen Neal Patriots RG 9-Oct-76 12256 33 years, 6 months, 21 days
7 Alan Faneca Cardinals LG 7-Dec-76 12197 33 years, 4 months, 23 days
8 Todd McClure Falcons C 16-Feb-77 12126 33 years, 2 months, 14 days
9 Brian Waters Chiefs LG 18-Feb-77 12138 33 years, 2 months, 26 days
10 Brad Meester Jaguars C 23-Mar-77 12091 33 years, 1 month, 7 days
11 Olin Kreutz Bears C 9-Jun-77 12013 32 years, 10 months, 21 days
12 Mark Tauscher Packers RT 17-Jun-77 12005 32 years, 10 months, 13 days
13 Giants C 23-Jun-77 11999 32 years, 10 months, 7 days
14 Cooper Carlisle Raiders RG 11-Aug-77 11950 32 years, 8 months, 19 days
15 Ben Hamilton Seahawks LG 18-Aug-77 11943 32 years, 8 months, 12 days
16 Jeff Backus Lions LT 21-Sep-77 11909 32 years, 7 months, 9 days
17 Casey Rabach Redskins C 24-Sep-77 11906 32 years, 7 months, 6 days
18 Steve Hutchinson Vikings LG 1-Nov-77 11868 32 years, 5 months, 29 days
19 Damien Woody Jets RT 3-Nov-77 11866 32 years, 5 months, 27 days
20 Andre Gurode Cowboys C 6-Mar-78 11743 32 years, 1 month, 24 days
21 Matt Light Patriots LT 23-Jun-78 11634 31 years, 10 months, 7 days
22 Leonard Davis Cowboys RG 5-Sep-78 11560 31 years, 7 months, 25 days
23 Marc Colombo Cowboys RT 8-Oct-78 11527 31 years, 6 months, 22 days
24 Floyd Womack Browns RG 15-Nov-78 11489 31 years, 5 months, 15 days
25 Justin Hartwig Steelers C 21-Nov-78 11483 31 years, 5 months, 9 days
26 Kyle Kosier Cowboys LG 27-Nov-78 11477 31 years, 5 months, 3 days
27 Artis Hicks Redskins RG 28-Nov-78 11476 31 years, 5 months, 2 days
28 Jonathan Goodwin Saints C 2-Dec-78 11472 31 years, 4 months, 28 days
29 Dominic Raiola Lions C 30-Dec-78 11444 31 years, 4 months
30 Roberto Garza Bears RG 26-Mar-79 11358 31 years, 1 month, 4 days
31 Rich Seubert Giants LG 30-Mar-79 11354 31 years, 1 month
32 Ryan Diem Colts RT 1-Jul-79 11261 30 years, 9 months, 29 days
33 Jonathan Stinchcomb Saints RT 27-Aug-79 11204 30 years, 8 months, 3 days
34 Dan Koppen Patriots C 12-Sep-79 11188 30 years, 7 months, 18 days
35 Bryant McKinnie Vikings LT 23-Sep-79 11239 30 years, 9 months, 7 days
36 Jake Grove Dolphins C 22-Jan-80 11056 30 years, 3 months, 8 days
37 Eric Heitmann 49ers C 24-Feb-80 11023 30 years, 2 months, 6 days
38 Eric Steinbach Browns LG 4-Apr-80 10983 30 years, 26 days
39 Jamaal Jackson Eagles C 8-May-80 10949 29 years, 11 months, 22 days
40 Brandon Moore Jets RG 3-Jun-80 10923 29 years, 10 months, 27 days
41 Anthony Herrera Vikings RG 14-Jun-80 10912 29 years, 10 months, 16 days
42 Vince Manuwai Jaguars LG 12-Jul-80 10884 29 years, 9 months, 18 days
43 Jordan Gross Panthers LT 20-Jul-80 10876 29 years, 9 months, 10 days
44 Robert Gallery Raiders LG 26-Jul-80 10870 29 years, 9 months, 4 days
45 Tony Pashos Browns RT 3-Aug-80 10862 29 years, 8 months, 27 days
46 Derrick Dockery Redskins LG 7-Sep-80 10827 29 years, 7 months, 23 days
47 David Diehl Giants LT 15-Sep-80 10819 29 years, 7 months, 15 days
48 Scott Wells Packers C 7-Jan-81 10705 29 years, 3 months, 23 days
49 Kris Dielman Chargers LG 3-Feb-81 10678 29 years, 2 months, 27 days
50 Jacob Bell Rams LG 2-Mar-81 10651 29 years, 1 month, 28 days
51 Jammal Brown Saints LT 30-Mar-81 10623 29 years, 1 month
52 Jeff Faine Buccaneers C 6-Apr-81 10616 29 years, 24 days
53 Jake Scott Titans RG 16-Apr-81 10606 29 years, 14 days
54 Wade Smith Texans LG 26-Apr-81 10596 29 years, 4 days
55 Travelle Wharton Panthers LG 19-May-81 10573 28 years, 11 months, 11 days
56 Sean Locklear Seahawks RT 29-May-81 10563 28 years, 11 months, 1 day
57 Harvey Dahl Falcons RG 24-Jun-81 10537 28 years, 10 months, 6 days
58 Vernon Carey Dolphins RT 31-Jul-81 10500 28 years, 8 months, 30 days
59 Nick Hardwick Chargers C 2-Sep-81 10467 28 years, 7 months, 28 days
60 Chris Myers Texans C 15-Sep-81 10454 28 years, 7 months, 15 days
61 Ryan Lilja Chiefs RG 15-Oct-81 10424 28 years, 6 months, 15 days
62 Tyson Clabo Falcons RT 17-Oct-81 10422 28 years, 6 months, 13 days
63 Evan Mathis Bengals LG 1-Nov-81 10407 28 years, 5 months, 29 days
64 Justin Smiley Dolphins LG 11-Nov-81 10397 28 years, 5 months, 19 days
65 Andrew Whitworth Bengals LT 12-Dec-81 10366 28 years, 4 months, 18 days
66 Max Starks Steelers LT 10-Jan-82 10337 28 years, 3 months, 20 days
67 Stephen Peterman Lions RG 11-Jan-82 10366 28 years, 3 months, 19 days
68 Chris Snee Giants RG 18-Jan-82 10329 28 years, 3 months, 12 days
69 Jason Peters Eagles LT 22-Jan-82 10325 28 years, 3 months, 8 days
70 Eugene Amano Titans C 1-Mar-82 10287 28 years, 1 month, 29 days
71 Logan Mankins Patriots LG 10-Mar-82 10278 28 years, 1 month, 20 days
72 Chris Spencer Seahawks C 28-Mar-82 10260 28 years, 1 month, 2 days
73 Geoff Hangartner Bills C 22-Apr-82 10235 28 years, 8 days
74 David Stewart Titans RT 28-Aug-82 10107 27 years, 8 months, 2 days
75 Alex Barron Rams RT 28-Sep-82 10076 27 years, 7 months, 2 days
76 Michael Roos Titans LT 5-Oct-82 10069 27 years, 6 months, 25 days
77 Todd Herremans Eagles LG 13-Oct-82 10061 27 years, 6 months, 17 days
78 Rudy Niswanger Chiefs C 9-Nov-82 10034 27 years, 5 months, 21 days
79 Frank Omiyale Bears RT 23-Nov-82 10020 27 years, 5 months, 7 days
80 Chris Kuper Broncos RG 19-Dec-82 9994 27 years, 4 months, 11 days
81 Jason Spitz Packers LG 19-Dec-82 9994 27 years, 4 months, 11 days
82 Chris Kemoeatu Steelers LG 4-Jan-83 9978 27 years, 3 months, 26 days
83 Willie Colon Steelers RT 9-Apr-83 9883 27 years, 21 days
84 Donald Penn Buccaneers LT 27-Apr-83 9865 27 years, 3 days
85 Deuce Lutui Cardinals RG 5-May-83 9857 26 years, 11 months, 25 days
86 Jason Brown Rams C 5-May-83 9857 26 years, 11 months, 25 days
87 Jeremy Trueblood Buccaneers RT 10-May-83 9852 26 years, 11 months, 20 days
88 Richie Incognito Dolphins RG 5-Jul-83 9796 26 years, 9 months, 25 days
89 Chiefs RT 19-Jul-83 9782 26 years, 9 months, 11 days
90 Kyle Cook Bengals C 25-Jul-83 9776 26 years, 9 months, 5 days
91 Jahri Evans Saints RG 22-Aug-83 9748 26 years, 8 months, 8 days
92 Jeromey Clary Chargers RT 5-Nov-83 9673 26 years, 5 months, 25 days
93 Marcus McNeill Chargers LT 16-Nov-83 9662 26 years, 5 months, 14 days
94 Eric Winston Texans RT 17-Nov-83 9661 26 years, 5 months, 13 days
95 Davin Joseph Buccaneers RG 22-Nov-83 9656 26 years, 5 months, 8 days
96 Rob Sims Lions LG 6-Dec-83 9642 26 years, 4 months, 24 days
97 D'Brickashaw Ferguson Jets LT 10-Dec-83 9683 26 years, 4 months, 20 days
98 Justin Blalock Falcons LG 20-Dec-83 9628 26 years, 4 months, 10 days
99 Doug Free Cowboys LT 6-Jan-84 9611 26 years, 3 months, 24 days
100 Nick Mangold Jets C 13-Jan-84 9604 26 years, 3 months, 17 days
101 Stephon Heyer Redskins RT 16-Jan-84 9601 26 years, 3 months, 14 days
102 Ben Grubbs Ravens LG 10-Mar-84 9547 26 years, 1 month, 20 days
103 Levi Brown Cardinals LT 16-Mar-84 9541 26 years, 1 month, 14 days
104 Lyle Sendlein Cardinals C 16-Mar-84 9541 26 years, 1 month, 14 days
105 Uche Nwaneri Jaguars RG 20-Mar-84 9537 26 years, 1 month, 10 days
106 Charlie Johnson  Colts LT 2-May-84 9494 25 years, 11 months, 28 days
107 Demetrius Bell Bills LT 3-May-84 9493 25 years, 11 months, 27 days
108 Leroy Harris Titans LG 6-Jun-84 9459 25 years, 10 months, 24 days
109 Gosder Cherilus Lions RT 28-Jun-84 9437 25 years, 10 months, 2 days
110 Sebastian Vollmer Patriots RT 10-Jul-84 9425 25 years, 9 months, 20 days
111 Nick Cole Eagles RG 28-Jul-84 9407 25 years, 9 months, 2 days
112 Joe Staley 49ers LT 30-Aug-84 9374 25 years, 8 months
113 Winston Justice Eagles RT 14-Sep-84 9359 25 years, 7 months, 16 days
114 Marshal Yanda Ravens RG 15-Sep-84 9358 25 years, 7 months, 15 days
115 Mario Henderson Raiders LT 29-Oct-84 9314 25 years, 6 months, 1 day
116 Branden Albert Chiefs LT 4-Nov-84 9308 25 years, 5 months, 26 days
117 Brandon Keith Cardinals RT 21-Nov-84 9281 25 years, 5 months, 9 days
118 Samson Satele Raiders C 29-Nov-84 9283 25 years, 5 months, 1 day
119 Joe Thomas Browns LT 4-Dec-84 9278 25 years, 4 months, 26 days
120 Kyle DeVan Colts RG 10-Feb-85 9210 25 years, 2 months, 20 days
121 William Beatty Giants RT 2-Mar-85 9190 25 years, 1 month, 28 days
122 Ryan Harris Broncos RT 11-Mar-85 9181 25 years, 1 month, 19 days
123 Ryan Kalil Panthers C 29-Mar-85 9163 25 years, 1 month, 1 day
124 Lance Louis Bears LG 24-Apr-85 9137 25 years, 6 days
125 Jake Long Dolphins LT 9-May-85 9122 24 years, 11 months, 21 days
126 Carl Nicks Saints LG 14-May-85 9117 24 years, 11 months, 16 days
127 Sam Baker Falcons LT 30-May-85 9101 24 years, 11 months
128 John Sullivan Vikings C 8-Aug-85 9031 24 years, 8 months, 22 days
129 Chris Williams Bears LT 26-Aug-85 9013 24 years, 8 months, 4 days
130 Duane Brown Texans LT 30-Aug-85 9009 24 years, 8 months
131 Alex Mack Browns C 19-Nov-85 8928 24 years, 5 months, 11 days
132 Seth Olsen Broncos LG 17-Dec-85 8900 24 years, 4 months, 13 days
133 Mackenzy Bernadeau Panthers RG 3-Jan-86 8883 24 years, 3 months, 27 days
134 Phil Loadholt Vikings RT 21-Jan-86 8865 24 years, 3 months, 9 days
135 Chilo Rachal 49ers RG 15-Mar-86 8812 24 years, 1 month, 15 days
136 Eric Wood Bills RG 18-Mar-86 8809 24 years, 1 month, 12 days
137 Jared Gaither Ravens LT 18-Mar-86 8809 24 years, 1 month, 12 days
138 Max Unger Seahawks RG 14-Apr-86 8782 24 years, 16 days
139 Antoine Caldwell Texans RG 19-Apr-86 8777 24 years, 11 days
140 Jason Smith Rams LT 30-Apr-86 8766 24 years
141 Andy Levitre Bills LG 15-May-86 8751 23 years, 11 months, 15 days
142 Michael Oher Ravens RT 28-May-86 8738 23 years, 11 months, 2 days
143 Jeremy Zuttah Buccaneers LG 1-Jun-86 8734 23 years, 10 months, 29 days
144 Josh Sitton Packers RG 6-Jun-86 8729 23 years, 10 months, 24 days
145 Jeff Otah Panthers RT 17-Jun-86 8718 23 years, 10 months, 13 days
146 Ryan Clady Broncos LT 6-Sep-86 8637 23 years, 7 months, 24 days
147 Andre Smith Bengals RT 25-Jan-87 8496 23 years, 3 months, 5 days
148 J.D. Walton Broncos C 24-Mar-87 8438 23 years, 1 month, 6 days
149 Louis Vasquez Chargers RG 11-Apr-87 8420 23 years, 19 days
150 Eugene Monroe Jaguars LT 18-Apr-87 8413 23 years, 12 days
151 Mike Iupati 49ers LG 12-May-87 8389 22 years, 11 months, 18 days
152 Jared Veldheer Raiders RT 14-Jun-87 8356 22 years, 10 months, 16 days
153 Russell Okung Seahawks LT 7-Oct-87 8241 22 years, 6 months, 23 days
154 Eben Britton Jaguars RT 14-Oct-87 8234 22 years, 6 months, 16 days
155 Vladimir Ducasse Jets LG 15-Oct-87 8233 22 years, 6 months, 15 days
156 Jacques McClendon Colts LG 10-Dec-87 8177 22 years, 4 months, 20 days
157 Rodger Saffold Rams RG 6-Jun-88 7998 21 years, 10 months, 24 days
158 Trent Williams Redskins LT 19-Jul-88 7955 21 years, 9 months, 11 days
159 Maurkice Pouncey Steelers RG 24-Jul-89 7585 20 years, 9 months, 6 days
160 Anthony Davis 49ers RT 11-Oct-89 7506 20 years, 6 months, 19 days

 

 

By team (as of April 30, 2010)...

 

Age Rank Team Avg days on Earth Avg Age




1 Cowboys 11184 30 years, 7 months, 14 days
2 Patriots 10956 29 years, 11 months, 29 days
3 Packers 10759 29 years, 5 months, 16 days
4 Giants 10738 29 years, 4 months, 25 days
5 Lions 10559 28 years, 10 months, 28 days
6 Saints 10432 28 years, 6 months, 23 days
7 Vikings 10383 28 years, 5 months, 5 days
8 Falcons 10362 28 years, 4 months, 14 days
9 Redskins 10353 28 years, 4 months, 5 days
10 Chiefs 10337 28 years, 3 months, 20 days
11 Browns 10308 28 years, 2 months, 22 days
12 Bears 10308 28 years, 2 months, 22 days
13 Bengals 10263 28 years, 1 month, 5 days
14 Colts 10175 27 years, 10 months, 9 days
15 Dolphins 10172 27 years, 10 months, 6 days
16 Titans 10106 27 years, 8 months, 1 day
17 Cardinals 10083 27 years, 7 months, 9 days
18 Jets 10061 27 years, 6 months, 17 days
19 Eagles 10020 27 years, 5 months, 7 days
20 Seahawks 9958 27 years, 3 months, 6 days
21 Raiders 9954 27 years, 3 months, 2 days
22 Bills 9918 27 years, 1 month, 25 days
23 Steelers 9853 26 years, 11 months, 21 days
24 Jaguars 9831 26 years, 10 months, 30 days
25 Chargers 9780 26 years, 9 months, 9 days
26 Ravens 9757 26 years, 8 months, 17 days
27 Buccaneers 9744 26 years, 8 months, 4 days
28 Texans 9699 26 years, 6 months, 20 days
29 Panthers 9643 26 years, 4 months, 25 days
30 Rams 9470 25 years, 11 months, 4 days
31 Broncos 9030 24 years, 8 months, 21 days
32 49ers 9021 24 years, 8 months, 12 days

 

 

The first thing that jumps off the page at you is that there are no offensive line starters in the entire NFL that are 35 years of age or older.  None.  And there is only one that’s 34 or older - The oldest, Jeff Saturday, turns 35 in June. That’s just incredible, and very indicative that if you’re in your early 30’s and you’re an offensive lineman in this league, your time is short.

 

Cowboys-offensive-line-look-to-work-out-on-some-drills-using-training-equipment-during-their-minicamp_medium

Easy, fellas... Don't hurt yourselves.

 

Cowboys fans, be worried.  Be very, very worried. Note the ages of the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line starters.  There are 160 OL starters in the NFL, and 4 of the 26 oldest are Dallas Cowboys.  By the end of the season, those 4 players (Marc Colombo, Kyle Kosier, Andre Gurode, and Kyle Kosier) will all be 32 years of age or older.  Remarkably, the Cowboys actually got younger this season when they rightfully dumped Flozell Adams’ awful contract with no cap penalties during this uncapped season.  If the Cowboys are of the belief that NFL players lose their ability with a sudden snap of the finger, and maybe they do... then they’re probably not worried.  But if they’re of the belief that a gradual, steady decline begins a few years before they can no longer compete at a high level in the NFL, then the Cowboys are rolling the dice and will be sweating out the healthy/ability of their offensive line the entire season  – bigtime.

Now, being old isn’t necessarily bad… as long as you can stay healthy, and as long as you don’t wear down toward the end of the season.  Otherwise, you better have depth.  Remarkably, this aging unit stayed healthy last year.  Their only setback was losing Marc Colombo for a stretch of time at the end of the season.  However, in their playoff game against Minnesota, they simply couldn’t keep Tony Romo off his back.  I’m not sure if that was a result of the older guys wearing down in their 18th game, or if they were truly on their game, but simply overmatched physically by the Vikings – Neither scenario is good, obviously.

Unfortunately for the Cowboys, they don’t have any depth whatsoever.  When they dumped Adams, Doug Free went from the primary backup to the immediate starter at LT, basically leaving the cupboard bare in case any one of the 5 OL starters goes down.  Their depth – Pat McQuistan, Duke Preston, Cory Proctor, Montrae Holland, and Robert Brewster.  We don’t know anything about Robert Brewster yet, but we know plenty about the others, and in a word… Ew.

So how did their roster form this way?  Quite simply, they’ve either missed badly in prior drafts, or just completely ignored the OL.  The last accomplished offensive lineman the Cowboys drafted was Gurode, with their 2nd round pick way back in 2002.  After calling Gurode’s name, here’s a list of offensive linemen they’ve drafted since…

I can forgive some of the bad picks, but the stretch from 2008 to 2010 is totally unforgivable.  In 2008 they had 6 picks, and did not address the OL.  In 2009, they had a whopping 12 picks, and selected only one offensive lineman.  In 2010, 6 picks… one OL.  Totals over the past 3 years – 24 picks, 2 offensive linemen.  In fairness, the 2008 class produced Felix Jones, Mike Jenkins, the suddenly disappointing Martellus Bennett, Tashard Choice, and Orlando Scandrick.  It’s tough to argue with those selections, I suppose. But when you have 18 picks combined the last 2 years and you have an entire lineup of aging OL starters… And you draft only 2 offensive linemen?  It’s just flat out unacceptable.

The Cowboys have a very talented team.  Good QB?  Check.  Diverse and talented backfield?  Check.  Premium weapons in the passing game?  Check.  Great pass rush?  Check.  But make no mistake… If you’re the Cowboys, that offensive line has to be a scary, ominous concern.  In reality, if they suffer an injury or 2 along the OL or if their decline begins to accelerate, it’s a potential season killer in 2010.

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