Those who know me know that I am a Madden freak.
I’ve loved football video games since my dad put Tecmo Bowl in my hands in 1988, and still bust out Madden ’96 now and then when I’m at the family house and the Sega Genesis is readily accessible.
So now, with the release of Madden NFL ’11 on the horizon, I’m doubly excited.
Of course, I’m looking forward to the new features…but after seeing the rankings, I’m also pumped to see how I can take what’s apparently a gigantic collection of stiffs and turn them into a dynasty.
That’s right, stiffs. The Eagles, according to EA Sports, have four players who rank above 90—and one of them is a fullback. And the kicker is that the kicker is tied for fifth with the starting left guard.
But hey, I turned Jason Avant into a 2,000-yard receiver by using the wheel play to perfection in Madden ’07, so let’s see what I and the rest of Eagles Nation have to work with this fall.
Yikes. I know (hope) Kolb will be better than that, but video game AI doesn’t account for things like “intangibles” or “studiousness,” or even “luck.”
Kolb has some decent ratings—he’s above 90 in Stamina and Injury and has an 86 in Throw Power—but he’s only got a 58 Strength rating and a 62 in “Swagger” (whatever the hell that means).
On the bright side, he’s just as good as Matt Leinart overall. But on the downside…yeah, Donovan McNabb is an 89.
Backup Michael Vick is a 73 overall, but has an 88 Speed rating, an 88 in Swagger (which must be Madden-ese for “stupid decision making”), and a whopping 44 in Carrying—a tremendous asset for a guy who runs the Wildcat. NOT!
Third-stringer/sacrificial lamb Mike Kafka is a 65 overall, but is apparently the toughest and most accurate of the trio.
Wow, are they really this good?
For a second year guy who had around 600 yards last year, 79 isn't bad—nor is the 76 overall total for his backup, Mike Bell.
But the true test of how they’ll be used lies in the peripherals.
“Shady” has a 93 speed, 96 acceleration and 96 agility, but is slightly more powerful than a dead battery (62 strength and 58 in “trucking”).
Bell’s got those last two in spades (78 and 88 respectively), plus an 85 speed and 87 acceleration that has to make the Birds’backfield pair one of the toughest to catch in the NFL.
Beyond them, token third/great hair guru Eldra Buckley only checks in at a whopping 68 overall, but he too is fast as the wind (84 speed, 88acceleration, 84 agility).
I gave Lenny "Pro Bowl" his own slide so I can ask one big question: REALLY?
I mean, I love Weaver as much as the next guy, and he was huge for the Birds last year.
But a 90, when his only attribute above 87 is Injury Prevention?
In the words of a wise man: Dang.
I’d venture that the best thing to do with Weaver is use his good-for-a-fullback speed (79) and 82 Ball Carrier Vision ratings to either smash up the middle on 3rd-and-1 or use him out in the flat.
So Celek has a breakout, Pro Bowl-caliber year (and is like fourth in the league in receiving by a TE), yet has a lower overall rating than Weaver?
Yeah, okay then.
Celek has an 89 in catching, an 88 in route running, and a ridiculous 93 catching in traffic rating…so you can pretty much turn him into Kellen Winslow Sr. minus the grisly MRI.
Beyond Celek and his Captain pose are Cornelius Ingram (63) and hybrid monster Clay Harbor (62). Both of them apparently suck, given they have 84 speed and pretty good catching ability.
Looking deeper…yeah, they do. Ingram’s next best attribute is his jumping ability, which is great if you like blocking kicks—and given Harbor’s 30 awareness and 50 swagger, he more likely resembles a road cone than a blocker.
Whatever, Celek’s a beast.
DeSean has 99 speed, 98 acceleration, 99 agility, and 92 catching. Not a surprise there, although at a 72 toughness he’s clearly the biggest wuss of the bunch.
Maclin, meanwhile, is pretty close in the big three categories (95-97-87) and has better jumping ability, but a 73 route running ranking is a little low; something in that range seems to indicate that he’s likely to get lost coming out of the huddle at times.
The backups are Jason Avant (76 overall but an 83 catch in traffic rating), Hank Baskett (65 overall but he has 93 in jumping and a 150 in “wifey piece”), and rookie Riley Cooper, a 63 overall whose 40 awareness makes him the guy who notices nothing but the fact that Clay Harbor is sleeping standing up.
And to close, I say…no Jordan Norwood?
LT Jason Peters (88)
LG Todd Herremans (89)
C Nick Cole (75)
RG Stacy Andrews (80)
RT Winston Justice (77)
Herremans is the best lineman the Eagles have, and rightfully so. Hell, according to Madden, he’s even a better pass blocker than Peters (93 to 85).
As for the backups, Max-Jean Gilles is a 72, Mike McGlynn is a 66, and backup tackles Fenuki Tupou and King Dunlap check in at 61 and 60, respectively.
Jamaal Jackson is a 79, but I list him here because he’s injured and will miss a good chunk of time (even if he doesn’t in virtual Philly) and the game didn’t include AQ Shipley.
On a positive note, McGlynn has a 93 toughness (which has to be good for something, right?). And on a hilariously negative one, Jean-Gilles has a 38 speed—which might be lower if they hadn’t found a sundial to time his 40 with.
I might switch those around, honestly.
Bunkley is stronger (96 to 89), but Patterson has better numbers pretty much across the board (and it’s an 84-50 landslide in that all important swagger column).
Trevor Laws and Antonio Dixon are both 66s, although Laws’peripherals kind of suck and both have awareness ratings slightly above comatose.
Jeff Owens also made the game, and at 55 overall, he’s officially the worst player on the team. Way to go, Jeff!
Cole is the best player on the team, and that’s probably about right.
I put Parker up above because he’s the next best DE at 80, slightly above Brandon Graham’s 78. On the whole, Graham is much better in every category but awareness and finesse moves, which is fine because he’s a rookie but baffling because Parker’s style of play resembles that of a runaway 18-wheeler.
Behind them are Darryl Tapp (77 overall but so much more useful than Chris Clemons), Victor Abiamiri (73 overall and about 90 points too high on injury ranking), and Ricky Sapp—whose 68 overall includes the best speed and acceleration of any DE but a 28 awareness that makes me wonder if he’s not actually an animatronic robot.
Also, I must wonder why Jeff Owens made the team but Daniel Te’o-Nesheim is left out. Besides the cool name, I’m not sure Owens’ 55 overall would’ve made his collegiate team’s depth chart in NCAA 11.
I bunched them together because of the group of eight, I’d wager on at least five of them (and maybe six) playing multiple positions—the exceptions being Bradley and Fokou.
Even Madden knows Moise Fokou sucks, and his most positive attribute is his speed. StewBrad, meanwhile, is in the 75-90 range across the board—except in swagger, of course, so this team may need to call in Lil’ Wayne for a seminar.
Sims, meanwhile, has the best LB rating on the team, and a deeper look says that his 88 speed and 90 pursuit are perfect for the weak side so it just might be the truth.
The backups have Omar Gaither (79) and Joe Mays (73) in the middle, while Akeem Jordan (79), Alex Hall (61), and Jamar Chaney (56, slightly more useful than Jeff Owens but slightly less worth having on the roster than Chuck Bednarik) man the outside.
Honestly, I actually shouldn’t pick on Chaney; he is the second fastest and second best jumper on the LB roster, so I’m sure he and Cornelius Ingram could be a great kick-blocking duo.
Samuel is the second-best player on the squad, and that’s about right (minus his Deion-esque 29 in tackling). Hobbs, meanwhile, is only an 80 but has 90 speed and is literally twice the tackler Samuel is, even if his 35 hit power is akin to being hit by a dishrag.
Sheldon Brown is an 87, by the way. Just saying.
Behind the pair of former Pats is Joselio Hanson (74 but the best in pursuit), Macho Harris (72 but the best tackling corner), and rookie Trevard Lindley (64 and about as strong as a wet napkin).
On the bright side…Lindley isn’t Geoff Pope, I guess.
Mikell is usually quite underrated, but Madden has him pretty fair in most categories; his awareness might a little low, but he does tend to blow one coverage scheme per game in an abysmally comical way, so I guess that was factored in.
Allen has pretty good numbers for a rookie (including an 84 swagger!), and his 75 in catching means two things: he should be good out in “centerfield,” and he’s probably more useful than Hank Baskett or Riley Cooper in a five-receiver set.
Like Jamaal Jackson, I put Marlin Jackson in the “backup” list because he won’t play at all this year. He is an 80 overall, but has a 55 injury rating (50 points or so too high) and is likely to blow a ligament as you cycle through his name.
The other backup is of course Quintin Demps, who at 67 overall should probably be teaching Jeff Owens and Jamar Chaney how to fold towels or something.
Poor Kurt Coleman.
That’s about right, although giving Akers a 90 kick power is kind of a joke. Honestly, we all love David, but if a guy who shanks 40-plus yarders like they’re mafia snitches and has less touchbacks than a babysitter can get a 90 kick power, Sebastian Janikowski must have about a 160 or so.
Also, I’d rather have Jon Dorenbos on the team for 15 plays a game than Owens, Demps, or Chaney. Plus, he can do magic on the sideline!
On paper (or artificial intelligence, I guess), I can’t see this being a .500 team based on these ratings.
On the virtual field, however,anyone who knows the Eagles’ playbook should be able to do fairly well.
Plus, now that Gus Johnson is the play-by-play guy, the thought of some of the things he might yell while I throw bombs to DeSean Jackson makes me tingle in all the right places.
Both of the above statements are why I’ve already taken August 10 off of work to enjoy Madden ’11 all day long.