FRISCO, Texas — As Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones poked his head out the opening of a lengthy sleeve t-shirt, his eyes widened on the mere suggestion his workforce’s youth might in some way function a detriment to its Tremendous Bowl prospects.
“We don’t take into consideration the age,” mentioned Jones, 26. “We simply go on the market and have enjoyable. If you run your performs and also you apply the best way we do, issues simply sort of click on on the sector. And that’s what we’re seeing.”
When Dallas faces the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday in the NFC divisional spherical, it is going to achieve this with a roster tied for third-youngest in the NFL, in accordance to ESPN Stats and Info, with out a single starter age 30 or older. In reality, simply two gamers — Sean Lee, 32, and lengthy-snapper Louis-Philippe Ladouceur, 37 — qualify for the Cowboys model of AARP.
Large deal, they are saying. No strain.
“We’re all in this league, and I’m fairly certain all people has performed in huge video games earlier than, had butterflies,” mentioned cornerback Chidobe Awuzie, 23. “However we’re all prepared for that. That’s the gorgeous half about this sport, that folks can both let the strain break them, really feel the strain and act totally different, or simply be locked in in your keys, be locked in your objectives, and maintain enjoying the way you’ve been enjoying.
“So I feel we’re the workforce that retains enjoying how we’ve been enjoying. We’re not going to let issues change. We’ll be locked in and centered.”
The 2 gamers over 30 on Dallas’ roster ranks because the fewest in the NFL. There hasn’t been a playoff workforce with out a starter over 30 because the 1988 Saints, in accordance to Elias.
The common age of the Cowboys roster is 26.1 years previous.
However earlier than you begin reminiscing in regards to the dominant Cowboys squads of the ’90s, it’s essential to be aware the present roster is even youthful than these groups. Not one of the Tremendous Bowl groups of the ’90s even ranked in the highest 20 in phrases of youngest squads, in accordance to the Elias Sports activities Bureau. The 1992 Tremendous Bowl workforce fielded a roster with a mean age of 27 years, 13 days. The ’93 membership averaged 27 years, 291 days, and the ’95 workforce averaged 27 years, 296 days.
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In accordance to Elias Sports activities Bureau, the 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers performed with the youngest roster to ever win a Tremendous Bowl (common age of 25 years, 304 days) and had been the one championship workforce with a mean age of fewer than 26 years.
The Rams’ common age is 26.2 years previous, which ties for sixth-youngest in the league.
“[We’re] very younger, however very skilled,” mentioned quarterback Dak Prescott, 25. “Plenty of the blokes which might be two or three years in have performed all two or three years that they’ve been in the league. So it provides you a lot of nice expertise; particularly in case you discuss all of the one-possession video games and shut video games that we’ve simply had over a couple of years that serves us effectively.
“However simply that youth additionally advantages us. Simply having it, popping out right here this late in the yr and having apply like we had with the vitality, the main target. It’s all going to repay.”
Dallas’ youth additionally supplies a sense of kinship in the locker room, in accordance to Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith, 23.
“Not solely will we play so effectively collectively, however we love each other,” he mentioned. “We perceive one another on a deeper scale than ordinary. Simply being in tune with one another, with one another’s youngsters, households, and mamas. You already know, I get to meet [defensive end] Taco [Charlton] mother, and I’m calling her my mother. And my mother is making pancakes for a few of the blokes on the workforce, and all of that good things. It’s simply a enormous camaraderie, and we love each other. That shows on and off the sector.”
Early on, the teaching employees helped the younger Cowboys navigate the uneven waters of inconsistency, and that complete expertise gifted them loads of classes they could have the option to apply in the playoffs.
The Cowboys began off the season three-5, after which won eight of 9 video games after sending their 2019 first-spherical choose to the Oakland Raiders in a midseason commerce for receiver Amari Cooper. In the course of the bye week, the membership fired offensive line coach Paul Alexander and elevated Marc Colombo to the place.
“You preach the significance of consistency and psychological toughness till you’re blue in the face, however typically you could have to have some experiences,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett defined. “We had some actual-life experiences that weren’t very favorable.
“However I do assume we discovered from them. We had been ready to construct on among the good issues we did early in the yr, and I feel we had been ready to be taught from among the adverse experiences. That’s what’s most essential, individually, collectively, as gamers, coaches, as items and in the end as a soccer workforce. I really feel like we’ve carried out that over the course of this season.”
All of the whereas, they made all of the ups and downs enjoyable.
“The vitality is nice, and it’s a good mixture of that combined veteran in there, not too previous, 5- or 6-yr veterans which might be ascending, and a bunch of excellent younger gamers coming,” defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli mentioned. “I don’t understand how younger they’re now, nevertheless it’s been a lengthy season they usually’ve gotten higher each week. It’s a ball, it’s enjoyable. Younger legs.”
Simply itching to make a lengthy playoff run.