Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan will forever be linked to John Elway and the great Denver Broncos teams of the late 1990s. His teams had a good mix of youth and veteran leadership, as they won back-to-back Super Bowl titles.
One feature of those teams, is that the average age of the 53-man roster was 28.3 years (1997), and 28.5 years (1998).
The current 2011 Redskins roster averages 26.7 years old, almost two full years younger than those Broncos teams, and one of the youngest in the NFL.
Shanahan spoke briefly yesterday on how to balance the pressures of balancing performance and giving opportunities to his younger players.
“They have to No. 1, prove that they can handle the pressure,” he said. “Niles Paul’s done a great job in special teams. He’s played a few plays and, when he’s played, he’s taken advantage of it.”
Paul also added the first two receptions of his career on Sunday, picking up 25 yards on a drive that culminated in a fourth quarter touchdown.
Another young player that has developed into a well-rounded player under Shanahan is tight end Logan Paulsen. In the absence of Chris Cooley to injury, Paulsen will play a critical role in the offense.
“Logan Paulsen has been very consistent since he’s been here,” Shanahan said. “He’s a guy that does a good job in the running game, does a good job in the passing game. He’s really consistent. I thought he handled himself extremely well in that game, making some big plays, some big catches, some big blocks. And he’ll continue to get better.”
With seven starters felled by injuries in the past two weeks, the development of the younger players on this roster will likely determine the success of this team.
Check out Shanahan’s full video, below:
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