Old and young in 2011, what might the Titans be in 2012?

A while ago, comrade in the statistical revolution Chase Stuart at his site Football Perspective put together a list of how old each team was on offense and defense. Now, obviously you can't just take roster size and apply it, but need to try to assess how valuable, relatively, different players are. For that, Chase used P-F-R's AV metric. I have my quibbles with that, but it's good enough for purposes, and he got an interest Titans-related result: the Titans were the fourth-oldest team on offense and the fourth-youngest on defense. How might that change this year?

Obviously, without any turnover, you'd expect a team to just be a year older. No turnover is not a reasonable expectation, but the Titans didn't do much to get younger on offense. They cut an older player in Daniel Graham, but his role on the team was slight. Guard Jake Scott, who wasn't young, departed via free agency, but they replaced him with an even older player in Steve Hutchinson. Re-signing Craig Stevens and Lavelle Hawkins made them older. The big offensive additions (sort of) are Kendall Wright and Kenny Britt (whose value should be greater this year). Unfortunately, the players whose production they're more likely to take up were already young players-Nate Washington will still be pretty valuable, and Damian Williams and Kendall Wright were both pretty young.

The single biggest driver of AV-weighted offensive age for the Titans is unsurpisingly the quarterback position, and the uncertain starter status means I'm not sure how to allocate the AV points for 2012. Even if you allocate all of them to Jake Locker, though, the Titans still project to be a team that's older than average on offense. A lot of that age comes from the offensive line, and I keep going back to the Titans' inability to develop younger offensive linemen. They project to be a little bit younger than they were before the Eugene Amano injury, but while Fernando Velasco isn't very experienced, he's not young-already 27, pretty much league-average. If there's a position to be old at, offensive line is probably the least worst one, but seeing them develop a young offensive lineman would be a nice change.
 

Defensively, we know about the contributions of the 2011 draft class, as Akeem Ayers, Jurrell Casey, Colin McCarthy, and Karl Klug all played significant roles as rookies, and McCarthy's role should only increase now that he's no longer splitting time with Barrett Ruud. Overall, AV-weighted team defense leaguewide is indistinguishably older than offense (27.1 v. 27.0), but the Titans since 2009 have pretty much divested themselves of old players. Even Ruud was only 28. Their 30-somethings on defense last year were Dave Ball, Chris Hope (who lost his job), Shaun Smith (ditto), and Will Witherspoon.

The offseason defensive moves were a mix of old and young. In terms of the departures, Hope's role was minimal. Cortland Finnegan was a league-average 27. Jason Jones was only 25. As to the additions, obviously Zach Brown and Mike Martin are young. Kamerion Wimbley is older, turning 29 in October.

Translating the new defensive roster into a guess at how old the Titans will come out by AV this year is a very difficult exercise-we don't know what roster roles will be and I'm not entirely sure who will make the team. My best guess, and I stress that it's only a good-faith estimate, is that the Titans will again be one of the youngest defenses in the league. 

Remind me to re-visit this question after this season is done, and I will be sure to do so. 

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