PHILADELPHIA - The Eagles are supposed to be good this season, despite having a roster that includes a lot of players who don't need to shave every day.
They enter Sunday's regular-season opener at Cleveland with the NFL's second-youngest team with an average age of 25.55, just behind St. Louis (25.32) and just ahead of the Browns (25.62).
Thirty of the Eagles are 25 years or younger. They were all in high school when the Eagles made their last Super Bowl appearance in the 2004 season. Only defensive end Jason Babin (32), long snapper Jon Dorenbos (32) and quarterback Michael Vick (32) were alive when they played in their first Super Bowl in 1980.
Four players - rookie running back Bryce Brown, rookie defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, rookie linebacker Mychal Kendricks, second-year running back Dion Lewis - are 21, meaning they are just now eligible to vote in the November presidential election.
Yet, they are expected to contend for the NFC East title and make a run at the conference championship.
"The rookies and younger players have built confidence and trust," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "They had to do that or else we wouldn't have kept them on the team. I think that speaks as loud as you can speak. Are there going to be mistakes (from younger players)? Yes. But they will continue to get better as the season goes on."
In the Eagles' case, youth doesn't always equate to inexperience.
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson (25) is entering his fifth NFL season. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (24) and running back LeSean McCoy (24) are both going into their fourth seasons. Of those 30 players aged 25 or younger, only 10 are rookies.
A few rookies and first-year players are expected to play key roles for the Eagles, however. Kendricks will be the starting strongside linebacker against the Browns. Stanley Havili (24), who spent last season on the practice squad, is the starting fullback. Rookie Brandon Boykin (22) will be the No. 3 cornerback and primary kickoff returner. Cox and rookie defensive end Vinny Curry (24) will get a lot of playing time on defense.
"The hardest part for me has been adjusting to how fast everything is, even in practice," Cox said. "But I feel like I'm ready to go out and compete against Cleveland. The key for me is that I don't want to go out there and try to be somebody I'm not. I don't want to go out there and be scared to mess up, scared to make a mistake. I've talked to the coaches and older players about it and they've all told me that I should just focus on trying to grow and progress every day. There's no pressure on me and that helps."
EXTRA POINTS: Reid confirmed Wednesday that rookie Nick Foles will be the No. 2 quarterback against the Browns. ... Safety Colt Anderson (knee surgery) and wide receiver Riley Cooper (broken collarbone) will not play against the Browns. ... Safety Nate Allen (strained hamstring) and defensive end Jason Babin (strained calf) both practiced Wednesday and are expected to play.