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The Donnybrook
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
NFL All-Decade Team

I'm supposed to writing/doing research for a book I'm working on but darn if I don't feel like doing that right now. So in a titanic waste of time, I decided to make up my All-Decade NFL Team entering the 2007 season. Away we go...

QB: Tom Brady, Patriots: Brady edges out Manning via his impeccable play in the clutch in leading the Patriots to three Super Bowls and also leading the Patriots to upsets over the AFC's top-seeded team three times in six seasons. I know you guys know I don't like Manning but I admit the guy is outstanding. I just like Brady in this slot a little more because of what he has helped the Patriots accomplish and for his sterling 12-2 playoff record.

RB: LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers: As usual the instant historians wanted to crown LT as the best ever last year. He might someday be but for now let's just call him what he is and that's the best running back to play this decade.

RB: Shaun Alexander, Seahawks: Mr. Consistency. Before getting hurt last year this guy (I don't have the stats in front of me like I did earlier, but he had something like over 1300 yards and at least 16 touchdowns for about five straight years. Marshall Faulk and Priest Holmes were amazing for three years but Alexander's consistency earns him the spot.

WR: Marvin Harrison, Colts: It's ludicrous to compare this guy to Jerry Rice (see a post I made last January for why) but the guy is a lock for 1,100 yards or more and more than 10 touchdowns every year. He's a future Hall of Famer and the best to play the position this decade.

WR: Torry Holt, Rams: Holt edges out T.O. I think T.O. should be the best receiver this decade because his talent is freakish but I give the nod to Harrison and Holt because not only do they put up great numbers but they also do not hurt their teams the way T.O. has in the past with the Niners in 2003 and the Eagles in 2005 and to a certain extent the Cowboys last year. Look at Holt's numbers and he's kind of like Harrison-Lite.

TE: Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs: One of the best to ever play his position and he created the new age tight end a la Antonio Gates.

OL: Jonathan Ogden, Ravens: A beast who's headed to Canton.

OL: Larry Allen, Cowboys, 49ERS: Maybe one of the best linemen to ever play the game and one of the strongest...benches about 650 pounds I read.

OL: Orlando Pace, Rams: This guy should have received more Heisman consideration in college but linemen don't get the credit they deserve. Anyway, think of some of the outstanding Rams offenses this decade and then watch Pace play and it's easy to see one of the reasons they were so good.

OL: Willie Roaf, Saints, Chiefs: A model of consistency, Roaf was a huge reason Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson had the success they did.

OL: Walter Jones, Seahawks: Edges out Will Shields and Alan Faneca for the final spot. A monster on his side, he was possibly the biggest reason Alexander had the monster season he had in 2005. Run to his side and you have a chance to gain nice yardage every time.

DL: Jason Taylor, Dolphins: He's outspoken but he can back it up. Outstanding pass rusher who has great speed and can create big plays that you usually don't see a lineman make.

DL: Warren Sapp, Buccaneers, Raiders: Sapp gets the nod more for what he did with the Bucs than with the Raiders but this guy was a monster for a while and could rush the passer with the best of them while also being outstanding against the run. Outstanding speed for a man his size. Bucs fortunes started changing when they drafted him and Derrick Brooks in 1995.

DL: Michael Strahan, Giants: Favre may have laid down literally to give him a bogus quarterback sack record in 2001 but that aside, the guy is one of the best pass rushers in NFL history and was one of the main reasons the Giants went to the super bowl in 2000 and won the division in 2005.

LB: Ray Lewis, Ravens: one of the best to ever play his position. Some instant historians were already crowning him THE best a few years ago but I still like Lawrence Taylor and Dick Butkus more. But this guy is a phenom who can do everything on the field.

LB: Derrick Brooks, Buccaneers: I love the way this guy plays and I think he is one of the most underrated players in NFL history. No doubt in my mind, he was the best player on the 2002 team that won the super bowl. I think he scored four touchdowns that year, including one in the super bowl, which is crazy. He's got a motor that doesn't quit and like Lewis, can do just about anything on the field.

LB: Brian Urlacher, Bears: Chicago has bred some outstanding linebackers over the years and Urlacher is now in that fraternity, helping spark the team's revival the last few years.

LB: Zach Thomas, Dolphins: Yup, good call scouts. He's definitely too slow to play in the NFL...eye roll. This guy being drafted in round five goes down as one of the great draft day steals. Six pro bowls later he's established himself as one of the league's best defensive players.

CB: Champ Bailey, Redskins, Broncos: Clinton Portis is a terrific running back but I still think the Broncos shafted the Skins because it's rare that you can have a corner who can shut down an entire side of the field and that's what Bailey can do. He seems to be getting better with age and quarterbacks throw to his side at their own peril.

CB: Ty Hall, Patriots, Jets, Chiefs: Hall is not as dominant as Bailey but he has been one of the league's top cover guys for a long time. He was so effective and physical that the Colts and Bill Polian had to cry after getting stomped by the Pats in the 2003 AFC title game. Harrison and Co. were so roughed up by the Pats that Polian, who just happened to be on the competition committee, had the pass coverage rules changed so wimps like Harrison (he's great but he's soft) could have more of an advantage. So a year later in 2004 with Troy Brown in the secondary the Pats won 20-3 against the Colts in the playoffs. But I digress...Hall is a great corner who has a nose for big plays.

S: Brian Dawkins, Eagles: The heart and soul of the Eagles this decade (Sorry Donovan, it's true), Dawkins is a beast in the secondary, laying out backs and receivers with hard hits while providing excellent pass coverage and good run defense support.

S: John Lynch, Buccaneers, Broncos: This guy is sort of like the Energizer Bunny and just keeps going and going and going after starting his career in 1993. A lot like Dawkins, Lynch has made the Pro Bowl every since 1999 except for in 2003. Big part of the Bucs turnaround from 1997-2002.

K: Adam Vinatieri, Patriots, Colts: Not only did he kick two game-winning field goals in the super bowl, but he also kicked five field goals against the Ravens in last year's playoffs...and probably made the greatest kick of all-time when he drilled a 45-yarder in a blizzard where he couldn't even see the goal posts, sending the Patriots into overtime where he again kicked a game-winner...on and into the snow.

P: Who cares, because our offense wouldn't be stopped. But I would pick Klaus Wilmsmeyer even if he didn't play this decade because with a name that cool he earns all-time punter status.


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