Philadelphia Eagles' Madden 2011 Ratings Breakdown: Running Backs
Moving forward in our position-by-position look at the Eagles' 2010 squad through the eyes of the Madden developers, we take a look at LeSean McCoy and the running backs.
Behind McCoy, the guys have Mike Bell as the primary backup and Eldra Buckley as the guy who wins the job of third running back. It's possible the developers, like myself, think Buckley's work on special teams will win him the job in the end. Of course, it could also just be a case of taking the safe route and going with the incumbent.
And as we take a look at the running backs, we'll also take a look at Leonard Weaver since a) he's a hybrid running back/fullback and b) giving him his own post would be hard to justify.
LeSean McCoy | Overall Rating: 79
Looking at the team as a whole, McCoy seems to have the fairest rating. My personal belief is that he's going to have a breakout season, but based on what he showed last year, an overall rating of 79 is more than fair.
And when we look at the other key ratings, like speed (93), acceleration (96), agility (96), catching (80), elusiveness (91), spin move (91), and juke move (94), it's clear the guys at EA are fairly high on McCoy and will likely make him very easy to progress.
They really knock him down in areas like strength (62), carry (70), trucking (58), and stiff-arm (60), but that's all warranted. He's not a bruising back who punishes defenders; He's going to juke them out of their shoes and run around them, so those ratings also make sense.
The one that I would dispute, however, would be his ball-carrier vision (79) and awareness (67).
Knocking down his awareness rating could just be because he's still very young, but he seems to see the field very well and can find a hole when it opens up. If a guy like Brandon Jacobs, who basically puts his head down and runs into people, has an 87 BCV rating, then McCoy should have a rating in that ballpark as well.
Mike Bell | Overall Rating: 77
Bell's rating is basically just the opposite of McCoy's, which should make him the perfect change-of-pace in Madden like the Birds hope he'll be here in reality.
His speed (85) , acceleration (87) , juke move (77), spin move (73), elusiveness (64), catching (62), and agility (78) all suffer a little, but his strength (78) , carry (87), trucking (88), stiff-arm (86), and awareness (77) ratings are right above average.
Essentially what the Madden guys are saying is if the Eagles could smash these two running backs together, they'd have one hell of a back on their hands. But since that's not possible, the Birds should be just fine if they'd actually implement a rotation and use both guys often enough.
Eldra Buckley | Overall Rating: 68
Buckley has been given all the attributes you'd expect from a guy rated so poorly. His best attributes—both of which are an 88—are acceleration and injury prevention, which, to me, sounds like everything a guy would need in order to cover kicks.
With Bell on board, Buckley surely isn't going to see many goal-line opportunities and, even if McCoy or Bell were to go down, Leonard Weaver would likely see a pickup in carries before Buckley is given an expanded role on offense.
The Madden guys seem to know this and let the ratings reflect that. In fact, the 68 is probably a bit generous for Buckley, but since they don't give ratings specifically for special team players, it's a fair assessment.
Leonard Weaver | Overall Rating: 90
Weaver, who will likely see more of a traditional fullback role, got some love from the Madden developers and comes in at a 90 rating. From what I can tell, that's tied with Baltimore's Le'Ron McClain for the highest rating given to a fullback.
It doesn't take much of an imagination to figure out Weaver's attributes (but if you're curious, check here), and there's not a whole lot of them that jump out as being anything out of the ordinary except a very high catch rating of 82.
Weaver did show soft hands all season, but there are some lower-level wide receivers who aren't going to get that kind of credit. Not to take anything away from Weaver, but he only hauled in 15 balls for 140 yards.
That did, however, include two touchdowns and is an average of just over nine yards per reception, so perhaps it's a fair rating.
If the Eagles use Weaver to his full potential this year, we could see that rating be justified. The guy is a very good blocker and one hell of an athlete overall when everything he actually does for the offense—un, block, and catch—is considered.
And at 27 years old, he's only going to get better. For all you true football buffs out there who know your stuff, think Tom Rathman.
The developers over at EA went with Buckley as the third running back, but they also had Lorenzo Booker as the third guy last year, so it's looking like they just go with the safe pick.
While I think Buckley could and should win the third spot, it's going to be hard for Andy Reid to cut sixth-round pick Charles Scott out of LSU. He's a big, bruising type of guy who could help on the goal-line and in short-yardage situations, but he doesn't seem to fit Reid's offense and it's just as likely he winds up on the practice squad.
If he were to make the team, however, I would probably give him somewhere around a 61 overall, with all the attributes of a power guy, but the awareness and vision ratings of a rookie.
It's likely Scott could be added to the game and found in the first roster update.
*Next up: DeSean Jackson and the receivers.
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