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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NY Mets 3 FINAL
St. Louis 2
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Miami 7 FINAL
Washington 11
Detroit 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Minnesota 6 FINAL
Baltimore 5
NY Yankees 7 FINAL
Houston 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 2
Cincinnati 8 FINAL
LA Angels 6
Chicago Cubs 7 FINAL
Kansas City 0
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
San Francisco 11
Chicago WSox 4 FINAL
Cleveland 1
Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Oakland 7
Seattle 5 FINAL
San Diego 8
Texas 5 FINAL
Los Angeles 10
Colorado 11 FINAL
Arizona 10
Arizona 1 FINAL
Colorado 2
Houston 99 FINAL
Washington 91
LA Lakers 99 FINAL
Brooklyn 107
Minnesota 88 FINAL
New Orleans 110
Philadelphia 86 FINAL
Cleveland 87
Detroit 102 FINAL
Miami 109
LA Clippers 119 FINAL
Boston 106
Dallas 99 FINAL
Indiana 104
Memphis 89 FINAL
San Antonio 103
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Phoenix 97
Washington 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 2
Calgary 5 FINAL
Nashville 2
Boston 2 FINAL(OT)
Carolina 1
Detroit 4 FINAL
NY Islanders 5
Florida 4 FINAL
Ottawa 2
Anaheim 2 FINAL
New Jersey 1
Chicago 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
San Jose 2 FINAL(SO)
Pittsburgh 3
Michigan State 76 FINAL
Louisville 70
Gonzaga 52 FINAL
Duke 66
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Toronto FC 1 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 2
(7) Florida State 74 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 80
Villanova 70 FINAL
West Virginia 75
Michigan 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 60
Temple 69 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 57
Siena 50 FINAL
Louisiana 52
St Marys-CA 66 FINAL
UCLA 82
(5) Baylor 68 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 77
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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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