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Green Zone League Articles

2013 All Mallett Team
By Brad Mallett
Special to gzl-football.com

Slightly more timely with this one!

This is just like the All Madden Team. Not an all-star team, but a team of players who's performance impressed me. I might prefer one player over another just because I do. It's my team, dammit.

Standard disclaimer: I've made the decision to not include my own players, just to remove that 'conflict of interest', as it were. I don't think it's much fun if there are several Browns on this team every year.

2013 All-Mallett Team

QB
Matt Ryan - One of 3 QBs to hit the 5000 yard mark in 2013, Ryan did it while tossing just 12 ints to his 32 TDs. His 87.7 QB rating really doesn't tell the story very well, when you consider those three core numbers. Two WRs hit the 100 catch mark and the Falcons were 1st in pass offense (by a hair) despite Miles Austin's Theatre of the Absurd.
Christian Ponder - Led the league in QB rating (102 - the only qualifier with 100+) with 32 TDs to just 9 ints, and a staggering 8.7 ypa. Ignore the sub 4000 yards passing, Ponder was tremendous.

HB
Mark Ingram - After being selected 14th overall by the Colts in 2011, Ingram began 2013 on his 3rd team in 3 years. He totalled just 511 yards on the ground for the Saints in 2012. When the dust settled at the end of 2013, Ingram had carried the rock 404 times and it certainly wasn't for not. The would-be bust put up 2143 yards (1st) for a per carry of 5.3 (4th among qualifiers) and hit paydirt 18 times. He also only fumbled once during this heroic season. One for the ages.
Adrian Peterson - "Oh, are you fucking kidding me?!?" -AFC North GMs when they found out AP was traded to the Ravens. Strangely underused with just 238 carries, Peterson was exactly what you'd expect when given the ball. 5.8 yards per carry netted him a solid 1382 yards and 11 TDs. Look for the Ravens give him the ball more this year, I'd imagine.

WR
Miles Austin - obviously
Calvin Johnson - This is not an interesting choice, because Megatron is some sort of alien sent to our planet to be the greatest WR that ever played. So, yeah. 1582 yards at 18.6 yards per catch and 11 TDs (T-1st) and 400 yac (3rd). With the season he's having so far in 2014, he'll be on this team again next year. *yawn*
Julio Jones - After an 80 catch 1100+ yard rookie campaign, Jones managed to avoid the sophmore slump in a big way. 102 catches (5th), for 1679 yards (3rd), at an explosive 16.5 per catch. 10 touchdowns is pretty much as good as anyone, too. Get rid of those 12 drops and Jones could be Megatron-esque.

TE
Kellen Winslow - Junior had a great first season with the Vikings, finishing with 64 catches (1st - 10 catches better than 2nd), 963 yards (1st), 7 TDs (2nd), with 303 yac, and just 5 drops.
Vernon Davis - Davis led all tight ends with 10 touchdowns off of 54 catches (T-3rd) and 858 yards (2nd). His 8 drops are only mildly concerning for an otherwise stellar playmaker.

OT
Gosder Cherilus - Anchored the #1 offensive team in GZL in 2013. 110 pancakes were 3rd best among tackles while his 2 sacks allowed gave him the best sack ratio of anyone with 95+ pancakes. A big part of the reason Matt Stafford threw for 5081 yards.
Russell Okung - Six players threw passes for the Jaguars in 2013 (including a punter and a kicker) and despite that level of chaos under center, Okung went about his business quietly, running up 90 pancakes (21st) and allowing just 1 sack for the best ratio among tackles.
Marcus McNeill - Playing RT for the Chargers, McNeill put up solid numbers (92 panckes to 2 sacks allowed) and was the leader of an offensive line that anchored the 2nd overall rush offense and surrendered just 21 sacks.

OG
I'm going to break a rule, here, because there is a very obvious best OG in 2013 and that guy is:
Bryant McKinnie - McKinnie's season can't really be compared to the other OGs in 2013. 92 panckes (1st), 0 sacks (1st and only), and of course the best sack ratio by a country mile. He did this with a rookie QB under center and starting HB Peyton Hillis injured for most of the season. McKinnie helped journeyman Stafon Johnson score his first 1000 yard season. Johnson actually averaged over 100 yards per game as a Brown. All in the former left tackle's 2nd season playing guard. Damn.

Steve Hutchinson - At 35 years old, Hutchinson is still a dominant force inside. 3rd in pancakes (90) and a modest 3 sacks allowed and he helped rookie HB David Wilson pile on 1763 yards from scrimmage and score 10 TDs.
Justin Smiley - 77 pancakes to 1 sack allowed are obviously very nice numbers for Smiley as he dominated along with this fellow offensive linemen on the would-be juggernaut Texans. Before going down, Schaub was sacked just 6 times in 250 attempts and everyman Arian Foster ran up another 1800+ yard 5ypc season like they're candy from a baby.

C
Nick Hardwick - Another member of the I Ain't Allowin' No Sacks Club, Hardwick pancaked defenders 50 times and, well, didn't allow a sack. As mentioned, the Chargers dominated on the ground. Hardwick made this team last year and his 2013 season was even better.

DT
J.J. Watt - Watt was drafted 8th overall in 2011, two picks after I drafted Cameron Jordan and, trust me, I came close to picking Watt. Watt's number are very good - 45 tackles (2nd), 6 for a loss (14th), 5 sacks (14th), 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries - and just from a "this is my team, I pick the players" perspective, I love this guy. A total beast.
Isaac Sopoaga - Part of the #1 ranked defense in 2013, Sopoaga led all defensive tackles with a tremendous 10 tackles for a loss. His 38 tackles and 5 sacks are strong numbers and prove Sopoage was probably worth more than the 4th rounder the Titans sent to the Rams in a trade prior to the season.
Muhammed Wilkerson - Wilkerson was 3rd in tackles (43), dragged 5 players down behind the line, tied for 1st with 9 sacks, and managed to rumble a total of 37 yards off two fumble recoveries, which is by far the most by a DT. If you don't like watching 'big men' pick up the ball and rumble down the field you're just dead inside.

DE
Mario Williams - His 74 tackles were so other-worldly I contacted Seahawks GM Nic St. Marie to find out if he'd had time at OLB. He did in fact play OLB for two games against the Cardinals, which did net 15 total tackles (strong numbers for an OLB, I might add). So that brings him down to 59 defensive end tackles in 14 games, which would project to 67 tackles over 16 games. So even with the small inflation, Super Mario isn't fucking around (and, hell, those OLB games count!). I haven't even mentioned his league leading 15 sacks, yet. Or his 14 tackles for a loss (3rd). The price to bring Williams over from the Texans wasn't exactly cheap, but he proved more than worth it.
Brandon Graham - I can't find the thread because the forum search isn't useful, but there was a time I questioned whether Graham could repeat anything like his 19 sack 2012 season. Graham didn't tally 19 sacks in 2013 ("only" 14) but he had a monster of a season and declared definitively that he's the real deal. 56 tackles (2nd), and 16 for a loss are absolutely huge numbers to go with his 14 sacks. Props to you, Mr. Graham.
Pernell McPhee - If you've never heard of this guy, you're forgiven. Drafted in the 6th round in 2012, he did his best in his sophmore season to make 49er fans forget that Brandon Graham used to be a 49er. McPhee's 49 tackles are 4th among DEs, he snagged 10 tackles for a loss (11th), and tallied 11 sacks (good for 3rd). All while counting just $570k against the cap.

MLB
Jerod Mayo - A year of big plays for Mayo as he snagged interceptions to lead all linebackers, piled on 121 tackles (9th), 13 for a loss (20th), and 19 deflections to just 7 catches allowed. He'll be a Patriot for a long time, I'd wager.
Mark Herzlich - Despite his sluggish footspeed, this old school linebacker took advantage of his first year as a starter and led everyone in the league with 153 tackles which was, if you haven't checked, an all time record. His 18 tackles for a loss were good for 8th and he added a couple of sacks and an interception for good measure.

OLB
Jermaine Cunningham - You probably wouldn't have been able to guess that Cunningham had arguably the biggest season at OLB of anyone in 2013, but he did. Part of an absurdly productive Titans defense, Cunningham tallied a modest 63 tackles, but led all OLB with 20 tackles for a loss (or - to put it another way - almost a third of his tackles were behind the line). He also led all OLB with 11 sacks. For good measure he deflected 11 passes and only allowed 6. And the poor bastard is currently on his 3rd team in as many seasons.
DeMarcus Ware - He's now entering the twilight of his career, but in 2013 he remained an absolute beast. He tallied 11 sacks of his own and while his 49 tackles aren't anything to get excited about, 15 of them were behind the line. A fierce playmaker.
Cameron Wake - A rare intra-division trade sent the former CFL star from the Dolphins to the Jets and Wake continued to be a difference maker. 72 tackles were good for 13th among OLB, he was 4th in tackles for a loss with 18, and led all players with 4 forced fumbles.

CB
Lardarius Webb - Led the league we 12 interceptions (2nd best all time), ran back 3 for touchdowns, allowed just 23 catches, while deflecting 21 (by far the most even ratio among corners with 10+ picks). Big time season, obv.
Mike Jenkins - There's just some magic to dudes with the initials M.J. 61 tackles is solid, but six for a loss is tremendous (T-1st), he then adds 6 picks, ran one back for a TD and is the only full time starter with more deflections (31) than catches allowed (28).
Aqib Talib - Anthony always wants to see his players on this team, so I'm going to mess with him and put Talib here to make sure he doesn't forgot that Talib deflected just 16 passes while allowing 58 catches. Oof! Tough season for a solid player. Heck, he managed just 7 yards on 4 picks. 76 tackles is ok, but they are presumably almost entirely from his own coverage problems. Your welcome, Anthony!

FS
Michael Griffen - 73 tackles (11th), 7 interceptions (1st - 6th among all players), 2 TDs (T-1st) all add up to a pretty big season for Griffen as he roamed center field for the 9th overall Chargers pass defense.
Patrick Murphy - 8th in tackles (75), 2nd in INTs with 5 and 17 deflections against 5 catches allowed is a big time year for the 3rd year former first rounder.
Bonus Roster Spot
John Wendling - Last year's 'everyman' FS on this team, had the complete opposite type of season in 2013. In 2012 he lead all FS in tackles but generated no exceptional plays beyond that. In 2013 he managed just 5 tackles, but had 3 interceptions and tied for 1st with 2 touchdowns. What the heck, John?

SS
Robert Sands - Yep, the 2013 All Mallett secondary has both Titans starting safeties. 14th in tackles with 66, Sands' game is preventing passes, not tackling the receiver. 3 interceptions is tied for 4th, His 25 deflections are 4 better than 2nd place and his 5:1 deflection to catches allowed is just bonkers. One of just 7 SS to score a TD, just for good measure.
Troy Polamalu - On the wrong side of 30, Polamalu is still a play maker. He led all SS with 5 interceptions. Tied for 1st with 2 FF, and 12th in tackles (67).

K
Sebastian Janikowski - Nearing the end of his career at this point, no one was better in 2012. He missed just two of his 43 field goal attempts. Making him 3rd in in FGs, 4th in attempts, and 2nd in percentage (95.4%). Where the X-factor really comes in his is 39.8% touchdown percentage which is 2nd in the league. A damn fine player.

P
Matt Dodge - Being a punter is all about giving your team advantages in the field position game and Dodge played extremely well in that regard. He was 6th in punting average with 46.6 yards per punt. He led all punters with 27 punts dropped inside the 20, and his 31% rate led all punters, as well. He was 11th with 22 touchbacks and as a kick-off specialist he nailed another 37 touchbacks for a league leading 45.7% rate.

KR/PR
Percy Harvin - A number of returners had very explosive seasons in 2013, but I'll still take Harvin. 30.6 yards per return (2nd), 4 touchdowns (T-1st), 6.9 yards per punt return (very strong number for Madden), and the ability to play slot receiver are all too good to pass up.

Special Mention:
Darren McFadden - Returned just one kick off in 2013. For 96 yards and a touchdown. Nicely done, Mr. McFadden.
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