Buccaneers fielded youngest defense in the NFL in 2013

Brian Blanco

Youth has been a consistent theme for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but it hasn't exactly led them to the promised land.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the youngest defense in the NFL in 2013, if we weight their ages by snap counts. That's what Football Outsiders determined in their annual look at NFL team ages. The Bucs' offense was ranked 14th oldest with an average age of 27.1 years, while the total team age came in at 26.1 years -- the fifth youngest total in the NFL. 

That's a pretty surprising result given the presence of older veterans like Dashon Goldson, Darrelle Revis and...well, I guess that was the sum total of the older veterans on Greg Schiano's defense last season. Still, the youngest squad in the NFL? That's pretty cool. 

The Buccaneers have consistently ranked among the youngest squads in the NFL since firing Jon Gruden and jettisoning his obsession with veterans, though, and every year we talk about how next year is going to be totally awesome because we have all this young talent. And you know what? It doesn't really seem to work out that way very often. 

You don't have to be young to be good. The San Francisco 49ers consistently field one of the oldest teams in the NFL, and they've done fairly well over the past few years. Of course, the Seattle Seahawks are one of the youngest teams in the NFL, and they just won the Super Bowl. More than one road leads to wherever the Super Bowl is being held this season. 

This offseason, the Bucs spent some time getting a little older on defense. They signed Michael Johnson and Mike Jenkins, and everyone on their roster aged by a year. The offense, though, became significantly younger. Not only did they draft six offensive players, they also replaced Donald Penn, Davin Joseph and Jeremy Zuttah with younger free agents. 

Youth reigns supreme in Tampa. I'd just like to see that coupled with wins once in a while. 

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