About this time every year dedicated EA fans come out in droves in anticipation of the newest version of the fabled Madden NFL game, a staple in the home of hard core football fans every where.
Also about this time every year the never ending argument about team and individual player ratings heat up as EA, the producers of Madden, never cease to amaze with their bizarre ratings.
Rookies are most times rated incredibly low regardless of their draft placement making them virtually useless in actual game play and if you buy into conspiracy theories some say east coast teams are looked on favorably and thus rated higher.
However you approach it most likely there are more than a few issues you will find with your favorite team that will have you fiddling with the ratings in the back menu, that is unless you are a “Madden purist” who will only play with team as is.
You know who you are.
Finally Saints fans get a chance to do all the aforementioned things above as the teams individual player ratings have finally been released in full.
Admittedly there are some disappointments but on the flip side it seems EA have given the Saints a little more respect than in recent years coming off their first Super Bowl win.
On to the ratings…
- Drew Brees (QB)- 99
- Chase Daniel (QB) – 62
- Sean Canfield (QB) - 64
There is a notable omission from the quarterback list as it makes no mention of free agent Patrick Ramsey who was reported to join the team at the end of last week, as of yet has still not been signed.
Interestingly enough Chase Daniel, who is currently the front runner to secure the top backup spot, is rated lower than the Saints seventh round draft pick Sean Canfield.
- Pierre Thomas (RB) - 84
- Reggie Bush (RB) - 83
- Heath Evans (FB) – 82
- Lynell Hamilton (RB) - 69
At this point you would like to see both Thomas and Bush rated a little higher even with their respectable ratings already in place. Bush seemed to see holes better than he ever has last season averaging 5.6 yard per carry and Thomas 5.4.
Hamilton’s rating is a bit low considering how much promise he showed towards the end of last season but if he does secure the third running back spot this year should see an increase in rating during Madden’s routine roster updates.
Running back P.J. Hill is not listed but is also in consideration for the third running back spot when training camp kicks off July 29th.
The Saints picked up Jason McKie and Zak Keasey and will be returning Marcus Mailei to compete with incumbent starter Heath Evans.
It’s unlikely the Saints will keep more than two full back’s on the roster but it’s assured Sean Payton has learned his lesson after losing Evans to injury last year.
- Marques Colston – 89
- Robert Meachem – 82
- Devery Henderson – 82
- Lance Moore – 75
- Courtney Roby – 63
- Adrian Arrington – 50
The receiving core the Saints have in place is arguably the best in the league, arguable for non-Saints fans, and the ratings seem a bit low for the big three of Colston, Meachem and Henderson.
Together these three from a dynamic trio of receiving threats as each possess a skill set unlike the other.
Moore’s rating has dropped which is understandable considering he missed most of the 2009 season with ankle and knee injures, none the less he is only a season removed from leading the team in catches, yards and touchdowns.
Arrington is snubbed once again with a weak 50 rating, meaning of course he is virtually useless in game play.
He has worked hard to crack the starting lineup but has failed to do so in the two years he has been with the team because of injuries sustained in the pre-season.
- Jeremy Shockey (TE) - 86
- David Thomas (TE) - 78
- Jimmy Graham (TE) - 64
So we come across the first rookie from the Saints 2010 draft class and to no surprise he is rated a bottom feeding 64.
Graham has turned heads with his performances so far this off-season so don’t be surprised to see the rookie develop into a lethal weapon inside the passing game.
Shockey is right on as the aging vet has seemed to lose a step over the last few years but is always a threat down field.
Thomas’ rating of 76 seems a bit low as well as he is arguably the Saints most versatile tight end (blocking, catching, full back).
- Jahri Evans (RG) - 98
- Carl Nicks (LG) - 91
- Jammal Brown (LT) – 91
- Jon Stinchcomb (RT) - 90
- Jonathan Goodwin (C) - 81
- Jermon Bushrod (LT) - 75
- Charles Brown (LT) – 74
- Zach Strief (RT) - 66
- Nick Leckey (C) - 65
- Tim Duckworth (RG) - 60
Once again the Saints offensive line is ranked higher collectively than any other part of the team making them one of the best units in Madden football.
However there are a few “issues” as Jammal Brown was traded to the Washington Redskins and his replacement, Jermon Bushrod, is rated a 75 after starting every game for the Saints last season.
Bushrod is definitely deserving of a much higher rating after playing so well against so many elite pass rushers, heck rookie Charles Brown is rated only one point worse.
Fifth round pick center Matt Tennant is not listed at all which implies one of two things, either it is a temporary oversight or EA thinks he will not make the roster in 2010.
- Will Smith (RE) – 90
- Sedrick Ellis (DT) – 88
- Alex Brown (LE) – 80
- Remi Ayodele (DT) – 76
- Jimmy Wilkerson (LE) – 76
- Bobby McCray (RE) – 76
- Tony Hargrove (DT) – 74
- DeMario Pressley (DT) – 65
- Jeff Charleston (RE) – 62
- Al Woods (DT) – 61
The ratings for the defensive line are pretty decent except that of Tony Hargrove and Alex Brown.
Hargrove was one of the Saints most productive d-lineman last season making 42 tackles, five sacks and slew of fumble recoveries.
In fact he was quite impressive at pursuing a play given the fact he is 6-2 and weighs 275 pounds but was consistently running opposing players down to make the tackle.
Alex Brown, a free agent addition from the Chicago Bears, should by all accounts be the starter a LDE heading into the 2010 season.
While an 80 rating is nothing to scoff at Brown has been one of the most consistent defensive ends in the NFL deserving of a tad higher rating.
Al Woods the rookie defensive tackle is rated a 61, enough said.
Bobby McCray is listed as a right defensive end when in fact he plays exclusively on the left side.
The move by EA is most likely because they assume since Brown and Wilkerson are bothleft defensive ends and the depthat right is slimmer that he will be moved there to backup Will Smith.
Wrong, the reality is Wilkerson is more versatile than McCray and possesses the ability to play on both sides, likely he would be moved to RDE before McCray would.
- Jonathan Vilma (MLB) – 90
- Scott Shanle (ROLB) – 77
- Clint Ingram (LOLB) – 73
- JoLonn Dunbar (LOLB) – 66
- Marvin Mitchell (MLB) – 58
- Troy Evans (LOLB) – 57
- Anthony Waters (ROLB) – 56
Unfortunately the linebacking core has once again been rated as the weakest part of the team as the average rating is mediocre 68.
Vilma not unexpectedly is rated the highest at 90 but even he should most likely get a little higher rating more on par with Patrick Willis or DeMeco Ryans.
Vilma’s ability to read and react is vital to the success of the Saints defense and that instinctive ability is as good or better than any one in the NFL.
From there unfortunately there is quite a drop off, Shanle is the starting WLB and is rated a 77 while Ingram (73) and Dunbar (66) who will battle it out in training camp for the starting SLB are even worse.
Dunbar has been running with the first team defense throughout off-season work outs while Ingram recovers from a shoulder injury, look for Dunbar to make a huge push for the starting gig.
- Darren Sharper (FS) – 94
- Jabari Greer (CB) – 87
- Tracy Porter (CB) – 85
- Roman Harper (SS) – 82
- Malcolm Jenkins (CB) – 76
- Randall Gay (CB) – 75
- Patrick Robinson (CB) – 75
- Usama Young (FS) – 68
- Chris Reis (SS) – 63
- Chip Vaughn (SS) – 63
What was once the achilles heel of the team has now developed into it’s strongest attribute after the additions of Darren Sharper and Jabari Greer last season.
Sharper’s 94 rating is right on coming off a nine interception season in which he quarterbacked the Saints secondary to perfection.
Greer played lights out for the Saints last season and before missing six games with injury was the second best rated corner behind only Darrelle Revis.
He would finish the season as eighth best corner in the league higher in most categories then Revis and even Charles Woodson.
Can I get a ninety plus up in here?
Porter, aka the legend killer, was not that far behind finishing as the 38th best corner in the league only because he was thrown towards significantly more than Greer and more than most other corners as teams tried to play catch up with the Saints high powered offense.
Malcolm Jenkins was moved to safety but is still listed as a corner and will eventually be groomed to take over for Sharper when he retires from professional football.
The Saints first round pick corner Patrick Robinson is rated a 75 which by EA’s rookie standards is high.
Given the fact that he will see the field quite a bit as a nickel corner next season he should at least get an eighty.
- Garrett Hartley (K) – 76
- Thomas Morstead (P) – 75
Given the nature of how kickers and punters are rated in Madden it comes as no surprise either is placed in the mid seventies.
The stats that matter for these guys are at least on par with their actual talent as both their kicking power, accuracy, and ability are high given they are not considered athletic by Madden standards.
However Robbie Gould, Nate Kaeding, Rob Bironas, Ryan Longwell, Stephen Gostkowski and Sebastian Janikowski are all kickers rated higher than a 90 in Madden 11.
Why not Hartley?
There are also seven punters rated 90 or better which begs the question given how powerful Morstead’s leg is doesn’t he deserve to be included in that group?