The Buffalo Bills officially had the second-oldest roster in the NFL on Kickoff Weekend, according to data released Thursday by the league.
After examining the rosters of all 32 teams, the league released data Thursday that showed the Bills have an average age of 26.81 years. That's tops in the AFC and second in the NFL to only the Arizona Cardinals, who have an average age of 27.47 years.
"Well, hopefully with that comes wisdom, really," coach Sean McDermott said. "In my experience, I've been around some older teams, and they were pretty good teams. Really, you know, it's just trying to win now and sustain in the future with building a good foundation."
McDermott said he knew the Bills were "up there" in terms of age, but didn't know the roster ranked second in the league.
"Again, the good part about it is you've got older guys that can show the younger guys the way, then we've got all of our draft picks that are part of the new, current, and they're watching these older guys lead," he said. "That's a good blend."
The Bills had 12 rookie or first-year players on Opening Day. Cleveland led the NFL with 15.
Research from The Buffalo News' Mark Gaughan found that the Bills also have the sixth-oldest starting lineup in the NFL. That counts the top 12 starters on both offense and defense, including the third wide receiver and slot cornerback, both of whom receive starting-level playing time.
The Bills have three players who are 34 in Lorenzo Alexander, Richie Incognito, and Kyle Williams. Kicker Stephen Hauschka is next at 32, followed by center Eric Wood, safety Colt Anderson and fullback Mike Tolbert, all of whom are 31. Buffalo is one of seven teams with 10 or more players who are at least 30 years old. The Bills have 11 such players, while Arizona leads the league with 14 and Carolina has 13.
"We've have some outliers," Alexander said. "I know we probably shoot our average way up. ... When you've got four or five guys who have 10-plus years of experience, it shoots you up a little bit. I think age is just a number."
The NFL average is 26.05 years, while the youngest team in the league is Cleveland, at 24.17 years. The Browns' starters, according to Gaughan, are the youngest in the NFL, at an average of 24.4 years old, followed by Houston (25.9). The oldest starters in the league belong to the Cardinals (28.3), Dolphins (27.7) and Patriots (27.6).
Just how in depth does the NFL get with this research? The league also released data on how many players on each roster are less than 200 pounds, under 6 feet tall and more than 300 pounds. For those who are curious, the Bills have 11 players under 200 pounds, which ranks tied for fifth most (San Francisco has 14, Philadelphia and Minnesota have 13 and Atlanta has 12). Buffalo's 11 players under 6 feet ranks tied for third most, behind New England and Tampa Bay, which have 13 each. The team's 12 players who are more than 300 pounds are also tied for third most, behind Detroit and Green Bay, each of whom have 13 each.
Defensive tackle Jerel Worthy (concussion) was the only player not to participate in practice Thursday. He has been out since being injured in the final preseason game against Detroit last month.
Tight end Charles Clay (shoulder), left tackle Cordy Glenn (foot) and cornerback E.J. Gaines were upgraded to full practice participants after being limited Wednesday.
"We'll just take it one week at a time," McDermott said when asked if the plan will be to ease off on Glenn on Wednesdays due to his lingering foot issue. "We do have to be mindful of, like we are with all of our players, of managing reps through the season, week to week."
Veteran offensive guard John Greco was among 12 free agents the Bills had in for tryouts earlier this week, The Buffalo News has learned.
Greco, who has played nine seasons in the NFL, spent the past six years with the Cleveland Browns (with whom he started 66 of the 85 games he played with them since 2011) after three with the St. Louis Rams. He can also play center.
The rest of the players the Bills checked out this week are wide receivers Malachi Dupre (who they signed to their practice squad), Chris Brown, Marlon Brown, Stephen Hill, and James Wright; guards Tim Lelito and Oni Omoile; defensive backs Makinton Dorleant and B.W. Webb; tackle Brad Seaton, and quarterback Joel Stave.
The Bills currently have just four cornerbacks on their 53-man roster.
The team did make a move to add some depth to the position Thursday, though, by signing cornerback Greg Mabin to the practice squad. To make room for him, the team released tight end MyCole Pruitt from the practice squad.
Mabin, 23, made the Bills' 53-man roster out of training camp. He was inactive for the Week One victory over the New York Jets. He was released Tuesday to make room for linebacker Jelani Jenkins. A 6-foot-2, 200-pounder, Mabin had a pair of interceptions in the preseason. He was originally signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent in May, but released shortly thereafter and joined the Bills.
Barring any other roster moves, the Bills will go into the game at Carolina with Tre'Davious White, Gaines, Shareece Wright and Leonard Johnson at cornerback. Gaines was limited in practice Wednesday because of a shoulder contusion, but the team must feel good about his chances of playing Sunday if they don't add another cornerback to the active roster.
News Sports Reporter Vic Carucci contributed to this report.