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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Philadelphia - WP: R. Hernandez 2 FINAL
Washington - LP: D. Fister 1
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 2
Texas - LP: J. Williams 2 FINAL
Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar 12
Colorado - LP: F. Morales 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 4
Cincinnati - WP: M. Latos 5 FINAL
Miami - LP: J. Cosart 2
San Francisco - WP: R. Vogelsong 5 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 1
LA Angels - WP: M. Shoemaker 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Hellickson 3
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3 FINAL
Boston - WP: A. Ranaudo 4
Minnesota - LP: C. Fien 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Guerra 10
Toronto - LP: A. Loup 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: J. Veras 3
Milwaukee - WP: W. Peralta 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 4
Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 1 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 0
Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson 9 FINAL
Arizona - LP: B. Schultz 4
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: E. Stults 10
Chicago Cubs - WP: K. Hendricks 8 FINAL
Los Angeles - LP: D. Haren 2
NY Giants 8/3/14 7:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/7/14 6:00 PM
NY Jets
San Francisco 8/7/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New England 8/7/14 6:30 PM
Washington
Cincinnati 8/7/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
Seattle 8/7/14 8:00 PM
Denver
Dallas 8/7/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Sporting Kansas City 1
Winnipeg 27 FINAL
Hamilton 26
Toronto 31 FINAL
Montreal 5
Brt Columbia 25 FINAL
Calgary 24
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/7/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Edmonton 8/8/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Hamilton 8/8/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/9/14 6:30 PM
Calgary
Winnipeg 8/12/14 6:30 PM
Toronto
Connecticut 89 FINAL
San Antonio 79
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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