Legends of Lambeau: Green Bay Packers All-Decade Team (2000s)

Alec DoppCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2010

Legends of Lambeau: Green Bay Packers All-Decade Team (2000s)

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    As we round out the last decade of Packers football, we can all attest to the fact that Green Bay has produced some of the league's biggest current (and former) stars.

    Those stars produced on and off the football field in major ways, and will be forever enshrined in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame -- the most storied franchise Hall of Fame in the entire NFL, at that.

    The last decade of football in Green Bay has brought its fair share of controversy, and questions -- something that the league's most legendary organization is fairly new to.

    However the Packers' franchise (led by none other than Ted Thompson) has battled through many altercations, bringing on a new breed of players; the players that have shaped the first decade of the new millennium.

    Make no mistake about it, the 2000's was one of the few decades to have not brought home a Vince Lombardi trophy to it's rightful home: Green Bay, Wisconsin.  This failure has beared an almost awkward sense to title-town, and hopefully Aaron Rodgers will lead us to the promise land a few times before this decade is through.

    But for now, let's take a look back at the transgressions and accomplishments the 2000's have rightfully brought, by naming the Green Bay Packers' All-Decade team.

Coach: Mike McCarthy

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    Noteworthy Statistics (2006-Current)

    46-30 career record (.605 winning percentage)

    One NFC North Title (2007)

    Three playoff appearances

    Why he is deserving 

    No disrespect to former head coach Mike Sherman, but Mike McCarthy is the right choice in this context.

    McCarthy has been the undisputed crossing-bridge (of sorts) between the Brett Favre saga and the Aaron Rodgers era.  No one has played a more vital role in Green Bay's biggest franchise transition than McCarthy.

    Despite handling Favre's on and off the field troubles, McCarthy has managed to put together some pretty impressive head coaching numbers.

    With a 46-30 (and counting) career record as the Packers head coach, McCarthy is already on a path to proverbial title-town greatness.

    The Rodgers-McCarthy tandem will be intact for many years to come, and we'll have to wait and see what the 2010 decade has to offer.

    Runner-up: Mike Sherman

Quarterback: Brett Favre

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    Noteworthy Statistics (2000-2007)

    30,761 yards 

    207 touchdowns 

    61.9 completion percentage 

    Why he is deserving

    To be honest, Brett Favre is the greatest player ever to step on the football field for the Green Bay Packers -- by a long shot.

    Say what you want about his "loyalty", or absolute hate towards Ted Thompson, but Favre has lead Green Bay to the promise land twice in his career with the Packers.  If not for a late interception in the NFC Championship game in 2008, Favre would've gotten us there once again.

    Favre managed to rack up an unprecedented 30,761 yards between 2000 and 2007 -- just about half of his career total yardage as a Packer.

    Although his critics would describe him as "lacking discipline", or being "too much of a risk-taker", Favre's famous risk/reward style of play is what made him so famous -- and what made him look so efficient in the pocket.

    Favre led the Packers to 30 fourth quarter/overtime comebacks, and an unprecedented 45 game-winning drives during the 2000's.

    Never missing a game in the 2000's (or anytime else in his entire career), Favre will be forever known as the starting quarterback in two separate decades (1990's and 2000's) -- not too many other players are able to say that.

    It's easy to see why Favre is the greatest quarterback in the 2000's for the Packers.

    Runner-up: Aaron Rodgers

Fullback: William Henderson

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    Noteworthy Statistics (2000-2006)

    1,374 receiving yards

    10 receiving touchdowns

    1,423 all-purpose yards

    Why he is deserving

    Good old William Henderson made it possible for the likes of Ahman Green and others to be able to rack up such impressive rushing numbers.  His blocking abilities were second to none, and continues to be an example of how fullbacks in the NFL should play the position.

    Not only was Henderson a great blocker, but he was (and still is) a fan favorite to this very day.

    Although his blocking abilities were as commanding as they were prominent, Henderson occasionally made his staple move of "jumping over the defender as much as possible".

    Henderson is without a doubt an all-time Packers great.

Halfback: Ahman Green

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    Noteworthy Statistics (2000-2006)

    8,322 rushing yards

    54 touchdowns

    4.5 yards/carry

    Why he is deserving

    Not only is the leading rusher in Packers history, Green was the staple of the Green Bay's rushing attack in the early to middle 2000's.  Behind Brett Favre in the backfield, Green was inevitably going to be a huge success in the NFL.

    Making the Pro-Bowl in four seasons with the Packers, Green was one of the most dominant rushers in the entire league within the last decade.

    During the 2000's, Green was a 1,000 yard rusher in six individual seasons, including his 1,883 yard season in 2003.  In that same season, Green attained a 98 yard touchdown run against the Denver Broncos late in the regular season.

    Green unfortunately suffered from multiple lingering injuries throughout the 2000's, most notably in 2005, only accumulating 255 rushing yards total that year.

    Surpassing former rushers such as Paul Hornung, John Brockington, and Jim Taylor only further heightens his chances of being on the All-Decade team.

    Runner-up: Ryan Grant

Wide Receiver: Donald Driver

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    Noteworthy Statistics (2000-2009)

    48 touchdown receptions

    9,019 receiving yards

    13.8 yards per reception

    Why he is deserving

    First in all-time receiving yards in Packers history, fourth in receiving touchdowns (53), and first in receptions as a Packer (685), Donald Driver is one of the all-time Packer greats; both on and off the field.

    Driver has been one of the most likable players in Green Bay history, and continues to show that off on a week-to-week basis.

    But the one thing Driver has been most known for is his drive and enthusiasm every time he suits up to play on every Sunday.  The highlights may be awe-inspiring, but the effort is what really takes Packers fans' breath away.

    Driver has been a three-time pro-bowler during his illustrious career with the Packers, and had one of the best three consecutive seasons for a wide receiver in NFL history -- a period in which Driver averaged 1,241 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 14.4 yards per reception each year.

    Driver has also set an example of greatness for the young receivers that know inhabit the sidelines for the Packers -- such as Greg Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, and Jermichael Finley.  The knowledge and experience Driver has instilled in these wide receivers will be enough to last a lifetime; and for that, we thank you, Donald.

    Runner-up(s): Javon Walker, Greg Jennings

Tight End: Bubba Franks

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    Noteworthy Statistics (2000-2007)

    2,300 receiving yards

    32 touchdown receptions

    20.2 yards per game

    Why he is deserving

    One of the most durable, long-lasting tight ends in Packers history, Bubba Franks managed to rack up considerable amounts of statistics during his tenure with Green Bay.

    With quarterback Brett Favre at the helm, Franks averaged 9.0 yards per reception -- one of the league's best averages during that time span.

    Franks is also 17th on the all-time Packers receiving list, and is arguably the greatest tight end in Green Bay's history -- he truly is one of the all time Packers greats.

    Runner-up: Jermichael Finley

Kicker: Ryan Longwell

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    Noteworthy Statistics (2000-2005)

    80.3% field goal percentage

    99.1% extra-point percentage

    148 total field goals made

    Why he is deserving

    Ryan Longwell may currently be known as a "traitor" in Green Bay, however the fact still remains: Longwell is the Packers' all-time leading scorer in franchise history.  How's that for impressive?

    Well, what Longwell gave the Packers in six seasons during the 2000's is unprecedented, and awe-inspiring; a kicker who could (for the most part) hit every field goal he ever attempted.

    His resume is impressive as his career stats.  Longwell made four 50+ yard field goals for the Packers in 2005, to go with 20 total field goals in the entirety of that 2005 season.

    Longwell is in fact Green Bay's all-time leading scorer, with 1,054 points in his career (the next closest to that is Don Hutson with 823 career points).

    Runner-up: Mason Crosby

Defensive Tackle: Cullen Jenkins

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    Noteworthy Statistics (2004-Current)

    29 sacks

    1 INT

    5 forced fumbles

    Why he is deserving

    Cullen Jenkins has been severely overlooked from football fans, and Packers fans alike since his entrance into the league in 2004.

    Jenkins has managed to average a steady 4.1 sacks per season since his rookie season in 2004, and has excelled in Dom Capers' current 3-4 defense.  A defense -- let it be known -- that is primarily set up for the linebackers to eat up nearly all the sacks on opposing quarterbacks.

    Despite a tweaked calf muscle that has limited (most) of his playing time in 2010, Jenkins has actually had a career year so far; achieving 7.0 sacks this season alone.

    Jenkins will continue to be a force in the middle of the field for many years to come, and should be able to pile up impressive numbers by the time his career is through.

Defensive End: Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila

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    Noteworthy Statistics (2000-2007)

    74.5 sacks

    17 forced fumbles

    220 tackles

    Why he is deserving

    "Kabeer!"  That's exactly what you could hear outside Lambeau Field once Gbaja-Biamila got to the quarterback with his excessive speed, and agility.

    Looking at his statistics, you'd think he'd be still playing, right?  Well -- unfortunately for Packers fans -- his age finally caught up with him.

    Nevertheless, Kabeer is an all-time Packers great, and is more than worthy of such honors.

    Gbaja-Biamila managed to rack up over 10 sacks in four individual seasons during his career with the Packers, and achieved 13.5 sacks two times in his career -- and still is overlooked to this day as being one of the best overall pass rushers in Packers history.

    Kabeer averaged an impressive 8.3 sacks per season in his nine years with the Packers, yet his image will remain untarnished for many years to come.

    Runner-up: Aaron Kampman

Linebacker: Nick Barnett

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    Noteworthy Statistics (2003-Current)

    15.5 sacks

    9 interceptions

    574 tackles

    Why he is deserving

    Since his rookie season in 2003, Packers linebacker Nick Barnett has absolutely shocked (and rocked) the football world.

    The 574 career tackles (good enough to be second on the all-time Packers' tackles list) only tells part of Green Bay's most proved linebacker -- as he also carries nine career interceptions along with him.

    His development and stamina has surprised a number of people since being drafted out of Oregon State in 2003, and has been a staple in Packers' defensive coordinator Dom Capers' 3-4 defense.

    Barnett has been an absolute animal through the course of his eight seasons with the Packers.  If injuries stay astray, Barnett will inevitably find himself in the Packers Hall of Fame.

    The numbers simply don't lie.

    Runner-up: A.J. Hawk

Cornerback: Charles Woodson

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    Noteworthy Statistics (2006-Current)

    30 interceptions

    Eight touchdowns

    12 forced fumbles

    279 tackles

    Why he is deserving

    What else can we say other than "utter dominance"?  Well, to be honest, we can't say much else.

    Since being acquired in one of Green Bay's most important trades in franchise history during the 2006 offseason, Charles Woodson has completely turned his career around.

    Leading the Packers' re-vamped defense since he was first attained in 2006, Woodson has been the forefront for Dom Capers' defensive play calling and success.

    With an NFL record 10 interceptions returned for a touchdown in his career (eight of which have come with the Packers), the former Heisman Trophy winner is on a proverbial fast-track to the Hall of Fame.

    Along with 30 interceptions in just five season with the green and gold, Woodson's career is no longer in question; he is the best cornerback in the league -- by far.

    Runner-up: Al Harris

Saftey: Darren Sharper

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    Noteworthy Statistics (2000-2004)

    36 interceptions

    Six forced fumbles

    473 tackles

    Why he is deserving

    Make no mistake about it -- Darren Sharper was the absolute backbone to the Green Bay defense in the early 2000's, totaling up an unprecedented 36 interceptions (five of which turned into pick-sixes).

    The five-time Pro-Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro was (and still is) one of the best in the business in hitting the receiver over the middle.  Putting fear in the minds of receivers is what Sharper was all about.

    Unfortunately, Sharper was indeed a part of the Packers' 4th-quarter demise in the 2004 playoffs against the Philadelphia Eagles; allowing the infamous "4th-and-26" play that allowed Philly to continue their game-winning drive.

    But enough about that nonsense.  Darren Sharper was one of the fiercest safties the league has ever known, and will always hold a special place in the hearts of Packers fans.

    Runner-up: Nick Collins