Chart: Mark Craig's defensive dream team

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


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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Cleveland - C. Carrasco 12:08 PM
Detroit - K. Lobstein
Chicago Cubs - J. Arrieta 12:10 PM
Cincinnati - A. DeSclafani
Washington - G. Gonzalez 12:10 PM
Miami - D. Haren
Toronto - M. Buehrle 12:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Atlanta - T. Cahill 12:35 PM
Philadelphia - J. Williams
Boston - W. Miley 12:35 PM
Baltimore - B. Norris
St. Louis - L. Lynn 1:10 PM
Milwaukee - M. Fiers
Kansas City 2 Suspended
Chicago WSox 2
Kansas City - E. Volquez 2:10 PM
Chicago WSox - J. Danks
Texas - N. Martinez 2:35 PM
LA Angels - H. Santiago
Houston - A. Wojciechowski 3:05 PM
Oakland - D. Pomeranz
Los Angeles - S. Baker 3:10 PM
San Diego - B. Morrow
Pittsburgh - F. Liriano 3:10 PM
Arizona - J. Hellickson
San Francisco - T. Lincecum 3:10 PM
Colorado - T. Matzek
Minnesota - K. Gibson 3:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
NY Mets - J. Niese 7:05 PM
NY Yankees - N. Eovaldi
Cleveland 12:00 PM
LA Clippers 2:30 PM
San Antonio
Toronto 5:30 PM
Houston 8:00 PM
Milwaukee 4/27/15 2:00 AM
St. Louis 2:00 PM
Montreal 5:00 PM
Los Angeles 4:00 PM
Red Bull New York
Toronto FC 6:00 PM
Orlando City
Portland 8:30 PM
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