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Youth: Was 2010 Always a Recipe for Disaster for the 49ers?

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One of the 49ers Tweet-Bag questions today was regarding Takeo Spikes coming off the field on 3rd downs, and generally seeing his playing time reduced in favor of faster rookie NaVorro Bowman. This caused Eric Branch to ask Singletary if that was the best decision to make.

In the Nuggets Thursday morning, James wrote about how he expected for Taylor Mays to see the field in place of Michael Lewis this year but not necessarily Bowman for Spikes just yet. This piggy-backs on top of another discussion that's been going on the last week, maybe longer, about the 49ers having two rookie offensive linemen starting this season as well.

We all knew the 49ers had one of the league's youngest starting offenses - no player is over 29 and the average age is a staggering 25.09 years - but with some defensive youngsters infringing on veteran playing time...the entire team's average age has dropped.

We talk often about how great it is to have all of the 2010 draft picks on the active roster and most seeing significant playing time...but is this youth movement part of the downfall the team has experienced thus far? After the jump we'll examine just that.

Taylor Mays has become a starting safety alongside Dashon Goldson this season. That move dropped the 49ers defense average age down to 27.82 years. Considering the trend, it's fair to assume that before too long NaVorro Bowman will be the starting Ted LB in San Francisco. That might not happen until 2011, but the fact of the matter is that with Bowman in the game in place of Spikes the defense averages an age of 26.82 years.

Heck, the average age of the entire 53-man roster is only 26.77 years! With all of this youth on the team maybe we should have realized that the team was too inexperienced to be a consistently good football team. We expected improvement from last year and pointed to promising rookies coming in to contribute. But the team was a young, inexperienced team in 2009 and thus far 2010 has not proven to be any different, maybe worse.

Is the age of the team part of the reason for the numerous in-game breakdowns we're seeing? Certainly it's not always rookies or young players making all the mistakes, but we've definitely seen our fair share of dumb penalties - false starts, personal fouls, off-sides, etc. Should we have seen all this coming and termed 2010 more of a learning experience than a Title shot?