An 89 overall rating in Madden is pretty significant. After all, it says the player is only 11 points from perfection. Based on that definition, it seems hard to grasp that a player like the Kansas City Chiefs' Alex Smith would be rated so high, but he is.
Smith's overall rating is higher than the Baltimore Ravens' Joe Flacco, the Indianapolis Colts' Andrew Luck and the Atlanta Falcons' Matt Ryan. The 89 overall is equal to the rating for the Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton.
You can see the ratings for every player here.
This is not meant to be disrespectful to Smith—who never really seems to get his due—but if I were conducting a fantasy draft on Madden NFL 15, I'd take Flacco, Luck, Ryan and definitely Newton ahead of Smith.
While Smith deserves his better-than-average speed rating of 77, he probably should have been dinged for his throw power and medium-distance accuracy.
He was given an 85 and 82, respectively, in those categories.
Per Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus, Smith "graded at -5.1 on passes thrown in the five-to-10-yard range and -3.0 on passes thrown in the 11-to-20-yard range." He also "graded at -1.6 on passes thrown outside the numbers to the right."
These are the throws that require serious zip, and a lack of arm strength has always been the knock on Smith.
In 2013, Smith had a career year. He threw for 3,313 yards, 23 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. That's a pretty solid season, but it looks a lot like the stat line of a game manager.
Peter King: "What helps Alex Smith is he has the best RB in football. The most versatile difference making RB in football." #Chiefs— Ben Heisler (@bennyheis) August 8, 2014
This year, Smith is likely to have another season where he throws for 3,300 to 3,500 yards and keeps his interception total low, but he isn't going to be a game-changer for the Chiefs.
But that's what an 89 overall rating suggests he will be.
Smith isn't the only player who will likely fail to play up to his initial ratings.
Josh McCown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 83 Overall
In 2013, Josh McCown looked like the second coming of Joe Montana for the Chicago Bears in relief of Jay Cutler. In five starts, McCown averaged 308.1 yards and 2.2 touchdown passes per game (h/t Pro-Football-Reference.com).
That's an impressive run, but it doesn't cancel out the previous 10 years of mediocre production in McCown's career.
In eight games during the 2013 season, McCown threw more touchdown passes (13) than he had in any other season in his career. At 35 years old, it's unlikely he's had some epiphany that will lead to a fabulous back end of his career.
The more common and logical thought is that he found a system that worked perfectly for him, and that he had the weapons around him to thrive. Well, Josh isn't in Kansas...err Chicago anymore.
While the Buccaneers do have receivers like Vincent Jackson, rookie Mike Evans and a healthy Doug Martin at running back, that still doesn't compare to the Bears' Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte and tight end Martellus Bennett.
In addition, McCown won't be under the direction of Bears head coach Marc Trestman, a.k.a. The Quarterback Whisperer.
McCown struggled in the Bucs' preseason opener, throwing a pick-six in a brief stint in the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. After the game, Bucs head coach Lovie Smith spoke to Gary Shelton of the Tampa Bay Times:
"We didn't play well as an offense. Josh is a part of that. We'd like to have (the interception) back. We were never able to get into a rhythm. We didn't play as well as we will have to play later on.''
All this points to McCown coming back to reality a bit, and not living up to his virtual billing.
Oh well, that's what roster updates are for.
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