Philadelphia Eagles News

Offense Blessed With Youth, Experience

Of the 44 offensive players on the Eagles' 90-man roster, one, and only one, stands out above the rest.

Who is it?

Quarterback Michael Vick.

Who else?

Vick is easily the most recognizable and widely talked about player on the Eagles. Obviously, he infiltrates ESPN and other sports networks, but you can also find him in interviews on NBC with the "Today" show or on CNN talking to Piers Morgan, for example. Heck, even President Obama has been talking about him.

But Vick is unique for reasons other than the obvious ones – he is the only offensive player on the roster above the age of 30.

The oldest guy in a group may feel added pressure to step up as a leader, but age does not play a factor in Vick's focus of being a leader on this team.

"I'm always going to be a leader," Vick said. "I was a leader when I was 22 years old and took my team to the playoffs."

Center Jason Kelce echoed Vick's comments.

"I don't think he has extra pressure to step up as a leader, I think he wants to be a leader more," Kelce said. "I think he's taking that on as something he wants to do more of this year."

Leading a young offense can be difficult, but this particular one is full of experience.  The average age of the starters on offense is 26.7 years old. However, they have a combined 45 years of experience (average 4.1 years per player). All-Pros DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy are 25 and 24 years old, respectively. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is also 24 years old.

"The youth that we have on our offense has a lot of experience from last year," offensive tackle Todd Herremans said. "I don't think that we're at a lack of experience. We don't have years stacked on top of one another, but we definitely have a fair amount of guys out there that have had enough experience,  who've been playing six, seven years, to help everything out."

"We've been around the block for a while," Vick said. "I think that any good football team has to have its share of veterans and share of young guys who can get out there and stretch the field and move around the way the old guys can't."

Kelce, entering his second season at 24 years old, said that youth can be a hindrance if you lack knowledge and experience, but he feels that the team has experience at the right places. And enough of it, too.

"The most important person to have experience is obviously the quarterback," Kelce said. "Beyond that, I'm working with the most experienced offensive line coach in the game (Howard Mudd), so I've got him behind me coaching me every single way.

"Our left guard, Evan Mathis has been in the league for eight or nine years, Todd Herremans has obviously been with the Eagles for eight or nine years. There's plenty of knowledge on the O-line."

For the positions on the offense in which experience is lacking, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg believes Training Camp is "critical."

"We lack just a little bit of experience in certain places and experience counts, that's important," Mornhinweg said. "That's why we're putting all the hard work in on the field so that they can gain these reps and gain a little bit of experience there.

"Many of our backups are young and inexperienced, so you try to get them experience. That's why individual coaches are so valuable, and we have great individual coaches across the board. Young players in the game today, unlike maybe 15 or 20 years ago, in some cases, have to come right in and help the football team in several different ways."

There are some disadvantages to having a team full of young guys, but this offense hopes to thrive on the upside that a bunch of young guys brings to a team.

"Obviously we're a very fast and athletic team," Kelce said. "We have a lot of playmakers and scoring ability on offense."

Both Mornhinweg and Vick feel a boost of energy with this young offense.

"The youth is great with the juice," Mornhinweg said. "We have a lot of juice and it's still new and fresh for many of them."

"Energy is very high," Vick said. "We're working extremely hard, and we want to be the best."

This young offense is full of guys either entering or already in their prime, yet many of them are veterans in the league with at least a few years of experience.

Veteran experience combined with youthful energy is a recipe for success in professional sports, and that is exactly what this Eagles offense has.

"We're very excited," Vick said. "We have a lot to be excited about."

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