CLEVELAND, Ohio — Who is the Cleveland Browns oldest starter on defense?
It’s 30-year-old Jason McCourty.
And who is No. 2?
It’s 27-year-old Jamie Collins.
I found that out reading an ESPN story by Mike Rodak.
Rodak went through the projected starting lineups of every NFL team. He didn’t have McCourty as a starter, but the veteran played every snap in the 21-18 loss to Pittsburgh.
The overall point of the story is the Browns will have the youngest starting lineup in the NFL … by far.
ESPN lists the Browns’ average age as 24.4.
The next youngest are the New York Giants at 26.0.
I did a long interview with Browns vice president Sashi Brown before last week’s opener. He mentioned the goal was not only to have a young team, but the young players have to be talented and develop.
That’s the encouraging part of the Browns defense. Its average age is 24.0.
I was talking to an executive for the Baltimore Ravens, and he told me, “Cleveland’s defense is for real.”
Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told the media the Browns “are going to surprise a lot of people.”
The Browns defense held Pittsburgh’s offense to 14 points. The Steelers had no real running game: 35 yards in 17 attempts.
A down side was Roethlisberger was sacked only once. That also was the only quarterback hit. He threw a lot of quick passes to negate the Browns rush.
And the Browns are without top pick Myles Garrett, the rookie defensive end is recovering from a high-ankle sprain.
The Browns have had young teams recently. In 2012, the Browns had the third youngest team in the NFL. They started seven rookies, and four second-year players.
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