BOSTON (CBS) – The fact that this Patriots team is the youngest Bill Belichick has had since he’s been here in New England has been talked about both locally and nationally.
Only nine players on the roster this season are over the age of 30, and only three of them are on defense (Vince Wilfork, Tracy White and Will Allen). Tom Brady is the eldest on the roster, at the ripe age of 35. That’s one-year younger than offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Think of the veterans they just let go: Deion Branch, Jabar Gafney, Donte’ Stallworth, Dan Koppen, Brian Hoyer (and let’s not forget the ongoing will-he, won’t-he show up drama around Brian Waters). Then add in 11 rookies on the roster –. The Pats are younger, and the older guys in the locker room have noticed.
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“This locker room is starting to make me feel old now,” receiver Wes Welker, 31-years of age, said. “But it’s been good. A lot of energy, a lot of energetic type guys and young guys. And, you know, I think the main thing is focusing day in and day out and understand it’s a long season and you gotta keep on maturing and keep on playing well throughout the season.”
Logan Mankins is also feeling the youthful crunch. The 30-year-old is now between two guys who are younger than him. No more Matt Light to his left and Dan Koppen to his right. He understands the movement has to happen.
“We are a lot younger team,” he said. “Some older guys are gone so you just gotta count on each other that they’re going to do their job, put in the film study, put in their work on the field so hopefully it shows up on Sundays.”
So how will these young guys act when the game lights come on? Well right now that is the big question. Jerod Mayo says that’s something they all talk about.
“It’s definitely an unknown,” he said. “We talk about the different speeds of the game, we talk about the preseason, the regular season and the playoffs. But I’m sure those guys . . . We’ve been prepared. We’ve been preparing, and the coaches have been doing an unbelievable job of getting us ready.”
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