I love football, and I love video games. So when the two combine in the masterpiece that is the Madden NFL franchise, there's a good chance I'm going to pay attention.
Player ratings for entire teams are slowly leaking as the release date of the game gets closer and closer. The ratings for the Eagles are now out and ready to be scrutinized. It's interesting because not only do we get to see what the developers think about the players, but we get to see how they believe the roster will shake out.
So let's take a look and see what the EA guys got right and where they missed.
Kevin Kolb | Overall Rating: 75
Kolb, as the starter, is obviously the highest-rated quarterback on the team with a 75. It might be a little high for a guy with only two starts under his belt, but they also seem to be playing it on the safe-side with Kolb because of the uncertainty surrounding him.
They give him an 82 rating for short accuracy, and 79's for middle and deep accuracy. From what I saw, I might drop all those ratings a few points, but it's all fair.
The ratings I found most interesting were the brand new "swagger" rating (70) and an 86 in throw power. The swagger rating is basically a personality rating. If the player makes a good play, or a series of good plays, his attributes rise based on his "swagger."
With that in mind, a 70 is very low. I'm not sure if that's simply because of his inexperience or if the developers see some sort of character flaw with Kolb. For as much as I'd drop the other ratings for Kolb, I'd probably raise the "swagger" rating, as it appears Kolb's entire career will hinge on the momentum of the game.
An 86 throw power, by the way, might seem like a bit much but, when compared to other quarterbacks, it seems to fall right about in the middle of the pack—another safe rating.
Overall, I'd probably knock Kolb down to about a 73 by dropping his accuracy ratings a couple points here or there, but a 75 is certainly a fair rating and should be something that is easily increased if you can perform well with him in Franchise mode.
Michael Vick | Overall Rating: 73
As opposed to Kolb, who seemed to get the benefit of the doubt, Vick looks to have been cut short in a lot of key areas.
They give him a speed of 88, which is fair, a throw power of 92, which is also fair, but his accuracy ratings don't seem to reflect reality. Vick was given an overall 69 throw accuracy, with a 72 short accuracy, 64 middle accuracy, and 67 deep accuracy.
Vick always had a reputation in Atlanta as an erratic thrower, but that always seemed to be more about his decision-making than his accuracy. He seemed able to thread the ball through a needle, but he first had to jump the hurdle of actually reading the defense and making the correct play on the fly.
For me, I would probably bump up his accuracy ratings a couple points and perhaps drop his awareness rating from a 67 to somewhere closer to a 62.
Again, the overall rating would probably only move slightly, if at all, but it's going to be those key things that will either make him worth keeping on your roster or nearly impossible to use effectively if need be.
Interestingly enough, however, Vick has a "swagger" rating of 88. Compared to Kolb, the EA developers clearly believe Vick is much more of a momentum-driven type of player.
Mike Kafka | Overall Rating: 65
Honestly, there's nothing too interesting about Kafka's rating. He was a fourth-round pick who will be the third-string quarterback, so a 65 rating is even a bit generous. I was expecting a rating in the low 60's, so this is actually good news for anyone unlucky enough to lose Kolb and Vick at the same time.
The one interesting thing to take away from EA's assessment of Kafka is that they don't believe he could hit the Grand Canyon from 40 yards away. He has an overall accuracy rating of 82, which is pretty good. His short accuracy is an impressive 87, his middle accuracy is a respectable 77, but his deep throw accuracy is a putrid 55.
A 55-rated deep ball? With a rating like that, Kafka could target a wide open receiver in the middle of the field and hit the Gatorade stand on the sideline.
They also only gave him a throw power of 79, so it's likely the guy filling the Gatorade wouldn't even feel the ball hit him. I'm not going to pretend like Kafka was a guy I scouted, but from his highlights it looks like he's completed a fade or two, so I'm not sure why they felt the atrocious rating was necessary for Kafka.
For the most part, the ratings for the Eagles' quarterbacks seem right to me. It appears as though Kolb will be a serviceable player in the game that can be molded through Franchise mode, but he might become a bit frustrating for Eagles fans playing online.
Also, if the game will allow it this year, I expect several people to get incredibly annoyed with the high rate at which people using the Eagles will bust out the Wildcat with Vick taking the snaps.
Vick has always been that player your buddy forbid you from using because you could just run everyone deep and roll out to the left side and you were gone for at least 30 yards and wound up with some ridiculous number of rushing yards at the end of the game—200 or so.
He doesn't have that kind of speed anymore—in the game or in real life, so it might not get that bad, but the gadget plays Vick will be a part of could be off limits in your buddy's house very quickly if it's abused.
*Next up: LeSean McCoy and the running backs.