Chart: Mark Craig's defensive dream team

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 20, 2012 - 11:32 PM

MARK CRAIG'S DEFENSIVE DREAM TEAM

Left end: Reggie White (three teams, 1985-2000) The "Minister of Defense" had 10 first-team All-Pro selections, two league defensive MVPs, 198 career sacks and that classic "hump" move, which was pure power personified.

Tackle: Mean Joe Greene (Steelers, 1969-81) He was a two-time league defensive MVP, the foundation upon which Chuck Noll built the dynasty of the 1970s and one nasty dude when he got angry.

Tackle: Alan Page (Vikings 1967-78, Bears 1978-81) One of the first defensive tackles who could stuff running backs and chase down quarterbacks. He's one of only two defensive players and the only tackle to win league MVP honors (1971).

Right end: Bruce Smith (Bills 1985-99, Redskins 2000-03) The NFL's all-time sack leader (200) made not one but TWO all-decade teams.

Strong side linebacker: Jack Ham (Steelers, 1971-82) A quiet Hall of Famer who had 32 interceptions while using the speed and instincts to cover like a safety, thereby helping redefine his position.

Middle linebacker: Ray Lewis (Ravens, 1996- ) A two-time league defensive MVP and one of the greatest leaders the NFL has ever seen. In his prime, no one was more of an intimidating presence in the middle.

Weak side linebacker: Lawrence Taylor (Giants, 1981-93) He's the best defensive player in NFL history, the league MVP in 1986 and a guy who terrorized quarterbacks and popularized the strip-sack move that all players use today.

Right cornerback: Deion Sanders (four teams, 1989-05) Had 53 career interceptions, nine of which were returned for touchdowns. Will remain the gold standard for cover corners for years to come.

Left cornerback: Mel Blount (Steelers, 1970-83) A towering 6-3 corner who had 57 interceptions and played the position with such dominance that it contributed to the NFL's decision in 1978 to make rule changes to significantly favor the offense.

Strong safety: Ronnie Lott (three teams, 1981-94) The best safety and one of the league's hardest hitters regardless of position. He was an intimidator who also had 63 interceptions.

Free safety: Ed Reed (Ravens, 2002- ) The 2004 NFL Defensive MVP has 57 regular-season interceptions, eight postseason picks and is one of the most instinctive playmakers ever.

Coach: Bill Belichick (NFL coach since 1975; 1985-90 Giants defensive coordinator; 1991-95 Browns head coach; 1996 Patriots assistant; 1997-99 Jets assistant; Patriots head coach since 2000) Whether it's manhandling the Bills' "K-Gun" receivers in Super Bowl XXV, neutralizing Marshall Faulk and "The Greatest Show on Turf" in Super Bowl XXXVI or countless other examples, Belichick is second to none as a defensive game-planner.

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Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
UCLA 57
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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