Sunday, August 19, 2012

Attribute Spotlight - Madden 13 Tight End catch (CAT) attribute inconsistency.

On Friday (8/17/12), EA released the complete Madden NFL 13 Tight End attribute ratings - here is the link

This is third blog post I have done regarding the new Madden 13 catch (CAT) attributes. 

Here is the RB catch blog:

Here is the WR catch blog:

I strongly encourage you to read the WR and RB posts as well.  Individually and together, all of these posts reveal the undeniable inaccuracy that EA is providing gamers in regards to the catch attribute.     

Before, I started gathering information, I separated the WR's and TE's from the spreadsheet EA has provided fans.  By doing this you can see the averages for each attribute at both positions.

The average catch attribute in Madden 13 for TE's is 73.4, with a range from 45 to 97.

Like I said in my previous blog post, "If the catch (CAT) attribute determines the frequency at which a player will catch the football in Madden 13, then it should be a top priority for accuracy.  In many cases, the accuracy of the CAT attribute is the difference between picking up a first down or scoring a TD.  Dropped passes happen in the NFL, but shouldn't the players who drop the ball at a higher rate in the NFL also drop the ball at a higher rate in Madden football?  I think so." 

What I have done, is gather three years (2009 to 2011) of catch statistics and compared them to the NEW Madden 13 catch attributes.  Why three seasons worth of data?  Because, I don't believe one good or bad season should make or break a players attribute ratings.  A three year look at the statistics allows you to see the big picture, which I believe is a more accurate representation of the players ability to physically catch the football.

I have selected 28 Tight Ends, some big name players and some lesser name players.  I broke them into 4 groups to more objectively compare them to one another.  Those groups are based on the number of catches made over the last 3 seasons.  This is only a sample and I strongly encourage ALL Madden fans to explore more player statistics and attributes.  These are not the only examples of inaccurate catch attributes among Madden 13 Tight Ends.

Here is the group breakdown:

Group 1:  200 or more receptions.
Group 2:  199 to 150 receptions.
Group 3:  149 to 100 receptions.
Group 4:  99 or fewer receptions. (Please note:  Many were rookies last year, an (*) means less than 3 years in the NFL.)

First let's take a look at the entire NFL and what ALL wide receivers, tight ends and running backs have done in regards to drop percentage from 2009 to 2011:

* PLEASE NOTE - The difficulty of routes and the fact that wide receivers and tight ends have to make more catches in traffic, could explain why running backs have the lowest drop percentage.  

When it comes to the catch (CAT) attribute, I believe each position should be analyzed and rated against others at the same position.


Here is the first group:

M13 CAT = The original Madden 13 catch attribute as of 8/17/12.

RED = worse than the average drop % for the Tight End position from 2009 through the 2011 NFL season.


1.  Is Tony Gonzalez really seven points worse than Jason Witten in the catch attribute?  Gonzo has the 6th highest catch attribute in Madden 13 for a TE (at this time).  That sounds pretty good, but when you see the statistics for the other four players above him, you might think Gonzalez has earned a better attribute rating.  I believe he deserves better.  You don't have to be a Falcons fan to see the obvious.

BTW - Gonzo had a drop percentage of 3.61% in 2011; so what is Donny looking at here?  This has to be an oversight, right?

2.  Witten has earned his CAT attribute and EA got this one right.

3.  Winslow an 84 CAT?  Hmmmm.  Again, wait until you see the next two groups of TE's, I think you will see that Winslow is clearly underrated in this attribute.

4.  Yes, Vernon Davis has an issue when it comes to dropping catchable passes.  He did improve last year with a 6.94% drop rate, but does that mean we should forget 2009 and 2010?  I don't think so, and that is why I like looking at the three most recent seasons.  This is actually a favorable catch attribute when you look at the last three seasons combined.

Has Davis improved?  Yes, and he will get the opportunity to build on that.  Let's see if Davis has really turned the corner, or if he reverts back to the 08' through 10' version.  Another year like 2011 and he will be developing a new trend.  Cross your fingers Niner fans:)


1.  Pay close attention to this table and the next one,  things get very interesting.

2.  Antonio Gates has been great the last three years, but not better than Gonzalez who received a 90 CAT  attribute.  Don't get me wrong, I like the rating Gates has, it's just a great example of the inconsistency in this attribute.

3.  You have to feel for Heath Miller.  If Miller was a more popular name around the NFL, I bet he would get the respect he clearly deserves.  There is no excuse for this one EA, fix it ASAP.

4.  How in the world are Keller, Clark, and Celek rated higher than Heath Miller?  People will say that drop percentage shouldn't be the only factor.  Even if that was true, isn't this too big a difference in drop percentage to ignore?

5.  If your last name is Miller, don't expect to get an accurate catch attribute in Madden 13.  See:  Zach Miller and Heath Miller.



1.  This was my favorite table out of all of them.  There are players who have the exact same statistics, while others are extremely close.  If you looked up inconsistency in the dictionary, you would see a picture of this table.  This table is full of less popular players with a few BIG names mixed in.

2.  Is Gronkowski overrated in this attribute?  Remember, Tony Gonzalez is only a 90 CAT and he has 101 more receptions and a much better drop percentage than Gronkowski.

Gronk is very good, but he is not even the best among this group, let alone the previous group. Please note - I am not saying Gronk isn't a great player, I am talking about one attribute in particular and that's the catch (CAT) attribute.  If it's only based on the number of receptions for the previous season, then this rating would be good.  If you consider drop percentage Gronk is closer to being average than elite.

In this attribute, Gronk has not reached the level of Witten, Gonzalez and Gates.  Let's not forget, Kellen Winslow, he had a better drop percentage than Gronk last season (7.41% to 8.16%) and over the last three years (6.06% to 7.69%).  Despite those numbers, Winslow only has an 84 CAT attribute.

3.  Meet the very boring Anthony Fasano.  He is honored to meet you.  Did you know he had the second best drop percentage among this group.  Granted, he barely qualified for this group, but since he does we can't ignore him.  86 is a very good catch attribute and under different circumstances might be deemed accurate.  Unfortunately, EA has no scale in regards to the catch (CAT) attribute and based on other catch attribute for TE's, you could argue that Fasano is underrated.

4.  Graham had a breakout season in 2011, he lead all TE's with 99 receptions.  The question is how much weight should one season have in Madden ratings.  Graham has played two seasons so far, so it's safe to say next year he won't be in this group.  Does he deserves a better CAT attribute than Antonio Gates or Tony Gonzalez?  In my opinion, not yet.  Let's see what Graham does for an encore before ranking him above two sure fire Hall of Famers who are still producing at a high level.

5.  Check out Fred Davis and Marcedes Lewis.  They have the exact same statistics (I even doubled checked), yet they there is 9 points difference between their catch attributes.  So who is right and who is wrong?  I would say Lewis is closer to the correct attribute, and Davis is the overrated one.  Both are
worse than the NFL average and there CAT attributes should reflect that.  Fred Davis did have a very good 2011 (4.84%) and Lewis struggled (13.33%).  In 2009 and 2010, Lewis was better than Davis.  This another reason why I like to look at the last three years (when possible).  A real "ratings team" could choose to give Davis the edge because of last season, but should that edge be 9 points?  I don't think so.

6.  Ben Watson and JerMichael Finley are almost exactly the same in this table.  The big difference is, one plays for Cleveland and the other plays for Green Bay.  Finley gets talked about more as having BIG upside, and Watson isn't.  Much like Lewis, Watson has earned his CAT attribute, unfortunately, Finley is living off of perception.

For the people who only want to base attributes on the most recent season, Finley's drop percentage in 2011 was 19.05%.  That was one of the worst drop percentages among starting TE's in 2011 per

7.  Aaron Hernandez (91) has a higher CAT attribute than Tony Gonzalez (90).  I'm not making this up.  Hernandez is a good player, but he is no Tony Gonzalez when it comes to this statistic.  He had a very good season last year in regards to drop percentage (5.95%), but it still wasn't better than Gonzo (3.61%).  In his rookie season (2010), Hernandez was horrible with a 16.67% drop percentage.  Should this type of inconsistency result in a 91 CAT attribute, not to mention being rated higher than Tony Gonzalez?  Say it with me, "NO."



1.  I actually like the first three attribute ratings on this list.  Dreessen, Tamme, and Cook are well above average, but have not been over or underrated.  If there was an actual scale for this group (99 or less receptions), 86 seems like a great max.  These three players have done well, but have had more limited roles with their respective teams.  All three of them should play bigger roles this season.  Dreessen and Tamme will enjoy the new passing attack Peyton Manning brings to the Broncos; Cook will build on last season where he took over as a starter.

Unfortunately, EA doesn't have a true scale for each of these groups and fans will be justifiably upset when comparing these statistics to other TE's.  Remember, the average for a Madden 13 Tight End is a 73.4 catch attribute.  Every Tight End I covered in this blog is above the Madden average, yet several of them are below the NFL average.  The low Madden average can be attributed to the poor CAT attributes of "run blocking" TE's and players who have little to no NFL track record.


Final thoughts:

1.  So what is EA doing in regards to the catch attribute?  Are they ignoring last season or using last season?  Are they ignoring past performance or considering past performance?  Your guess is as good as mine, this attribute is so inconsistent it's impossible to pen down how EA determines who gets what.

If EA had standard procedures for assigning player attributes, they could increase attribute accuracy and reduce the inconsistency.  Unfortunately, there are no procedures that we know of, if there were, why would EA be afraid to share that information with fans?  That fact is, either they have no procedures to share with fans, or they don't believe in the ones they currently use.

Personally, I don't think they have any procedures.   There isn't enough time for one person (Donny Moore) to produce accurate ratings for all players and attributes, let alone attempting to do so without objective procedures.  It's an impossible task for one person.

EA - Give Donny Moore the required resources (manpower and money) to give the consumer and NFL professionals the player attributes they deserve.  

2.  I've been told, that the drop percentage statistic shouldn't be the only factor in determining the catch (CAT) attribute.  If the catch attribute is going to be this inconsistent, what is the alternative?

I believe the drop percentage statistic should play a major role in this attribute rating.  That said, the ideal situation is for a dedicated player ratings team of at least eight trained individuals, who follow standard procedures for each attribute.  I recommend eight individuals, so that each division is represented by someone who is required to evaluate every player for that division on a weekly basis.  Each week, these representatives will come together to discuss attribute ratings based on a standard set of procedures that each must follow.  All eight individuals must be properly vetted and assigned to a division that is the opposite conference of their favorite NFL team.  No one will evaluate their favorite NFL team, this will reduce bias.

I believe the procedures for the catch (CAT) attribute should start with:  the drop percentage, plus breaking players into groups (as you've seen in this blog), and creating an attribute range for each group.  From there, the team can have an objective discussion and decide how much the most recent season should factor into the rating.  A consensus must be reached before a player's attribute is modified.  If a consensus can't be reached, the player goes on a "watch list" and the discussion is revisited the following week.

That's it for now.  Putting out two blog posts in two days was fun, but tiring at the same time.  Thanks for following my blog and for all of the great feedback.  I read all of the comments and strive to get better with every blog.

Back to the real world on Monday, have a great week!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Madden 13 Attribute Spotlight - Wide Receiver catch (CAT) attribute inconsistency.

UPDATE - **  UPDATE - If you like this blog post, check out my new BLOG PAGE:


Yesterday (8/17/12), EA released the complete Madden NFL 13 Wide Receiver attribute ratings - here is the link

This will be the first of many blogs reviewing Wide Receiver attributes.  I decided to look at the catch attribute first; I did something similar last week with Running Backs (see here:

My goal is to push EA to produce more accurate attributes.  Before, I started gathering information, I separated the WR's and TE's from the spreadsheet EA has provided fans.  By doing this you can see the averages for each attribute for WR's.

The average catch attribute for a WR in Madden 13 is 78.3, with a range from 65 to 98.  Theoretically, if EA believes a WR is average when it comes to the act of catching a football, their catch (CAT) attribute should be at or near 78.  Of course, we know that in many cases EA uses attributes to manipulate OVR regardless of how the player actually performs in the NFL.

Based on the Madden 12 overall (OVR) formula for WR's, 18 attributes contribute to the overall.  Of those 18:  SPD, AWR, CAR, CAT, and RTE were tied as the most influential in the overall formula.  There has been no word from EA that the formula was changed for Madden 13, assuming it hasn't changed, you can see the importance of the CAT attribute.

If the catch (CAT) attribute determines the frequency at which a player will catch the football in Madden 13, then it should be a top priority for accuracy.  In many cases, the accuracy of the CAT attribute is the difference between picking up a first down or scoring a TD.  Dropped passes happen in the NFL, but shouldn't the players who drop the ball at a higher rate in the NFL also drop the ball at a higher rate in Madden football?  I think so.

Fortunately, for fans and the ratings team at EA, provides some very in-depth statistics in regards to drops and drop percentage for NFL players.  It's these type of statistics that need to be utilized to help produce more realistic and consistent CAT attributes.  As we know, Donny Moore "The Ratings Czar" has stated several times that he utilizes PFF and values them as one of the best sources for NFL analysis.  I completely agree with Donny.  Unfortunately, he doesn't have the time or staff to look deep into those statistics and objectively apply them to ALL players.

What I have done was gather three years (2009 to 2011) of ProFootballFocus catch statistics and compared them to the NEW Madden 13 catch attributes.  Why three seasons worth of data?  Because, I don't believe one good or bad season should make or break a players attribute ratings.  A three year look at the statistics allows you to see the big picture, which I believe is a more accurate representation of the players ability to physically catch the football.

I have selected 29 Wide Receivers, some big name players and some lesser name players.  I broke them into 4 groups to more objectively compare them to one another.  Those groups are based on the number of catches made over the last 3 seasons.  This is only a sample and I strongly encourage ALL Madden fans to explore more player statistics and attributes.  These are not the only examples of inaccurate catch attributes among Madden 13 wide receivers.

Here is the group breakdown:

Group 1:  200 or more receptions.
Group 2:  199 to 150 receptions.
Group 3:  149 to 100 receptions.
Group 4:  99 or fewer receptions. (Please note:  Many were rookies last year, an (*) means less than 3 years in the NFL.)

First let's take a look at the entire NFL and what ALL wide receivers have done in regards to drop percentage from 2009 to 2011:

The big question is - should EA sports utilized a number like 9.13% as a benchmark for the average catch attribute?  Basically, if player A has a drop percentage at or near 9.13% should that result in a catch (CAT) attribute at or near 78 (the Madden 13 average for WR's)?  I think most gamers would say NO, because for years they have been looking at the the total number of receptions and not the number of drops.

I love statistics, but I've said several times you need to look at ALL available statistics if you want to produce the most accurate and consistent player ratings.  In this case, the drop percentage should not be ignored.

Think about this.  If an NFL wide receiver is average when it comes to dropping passes, shouldn't he be average in Madden NFL  as well?  Feel free to leave a comment and defend your position as objectively as possible:)

Here are the numbers, one group at a time:

M13 CAT = The original Madden 13 catch attribute as of 8/17/12.


1.  Is it just me, or does Larry Fitzgerald deserve the top CAT attribute all by himself.  I'm sorry, but Wes Welker is not in the same class as Fitz when drop percentage is considered.  Welker drops the ball at a rate of 2.7 times more than Fitzgerald.

In Welker's case, it appears that only the total number of receptions was considered for his CAT attribute.  You can't disregard the drop percentage when assigning a CAT attribute.  I think it's clear, Fitzgerald has earned his CAT attribute, while Welker has not.  It's a classic case of perception vs reality.  I prefer reality.

2.  Reggie Wayne has earned the #2 spot among these WR's.  Should Johnson, Colston, and Welker really have a higher CAT attribute in Madden 13?  I don't think so.

3.  HELLO, McFly!!!  Honestly, the most embarrassing attribute rating on this list is Percy Harvin's 87.  I will just let you absorb those stats.  Viking fans, here is a objective way to show Donny Moore that one of your favorite WR's is getting hosed.  Just a thought:)

4.  Roddy White is within 0.04% of the NFL average in drop percentage over the last 3 seasons.  We are not talking about one bad year, we are talking about three seasons worth of statistics that are only four hundredths of a percent better than the NFL average.  How can EA justify a 92 CAT attribute when he is that close to the average?  I don't think you can justify it, if you consider drop percentage as well as number of receptions.



1.  Jabar Gaffney has one of the best drop percentages in the NFL over the last three seasons.  While a 90 CAT is very good, hasn't he earned better than that?  Maybe, it's because he is not a big name among the average NFL fan.  Or, maybe it's because played for 3 teams in the last four seasons.

Consider this, Gaffney has caught passes from six (by my count) different starting QB's during that time.  The skeptic can't even argue that Gaffney has had only great QB's throwing him the ball, unless you consider Grossman, Beck, Tebow and Orton great QB's.

2.  Too bad for Steve Breaston, he is just not a big enough name to get the CAT attribute he deserves.  For those Madden fans that want ratings based on perception, this is a perfect example of why that won't produce accurate and consistent attributes.  Kansas City fans, you should be screaming about his 83 CAT.

3.  Brandon Lloyd a 93 CAT.  Really?  What does that mean for Breaston?  Lloyd is better than the NFL average of 9.13%, but not by much.  DONNY - What is EA's benchmark for the CAT attribute?  It doesn't appear to be based of a players actually ability to catch a football.  

4.  Steve Smith, oh the great Steve Smith.  Big name WR, big name QB, and an overrated CAT attribute.  He has the 3rd highest catch attribute for a WR in Madden 13 with a 95.  Much like Roddy White in the previous table, he is just a hair better than the NFL average the last three seasons.

5.  Please sit down before you compare Garcon and Bowe.  You might fall over laughing.  They are both below the NFL average, but Bowe has received an inflated CAT attribute to say the least.  Garcon needs to turn Bowe into the authorities, because he stole that CAT attribute.  I don't know how Steve Breaston can play on the same field as Dwayne Bowe, it's got to be frustrating.



1.  Once again, big name (Bryant) versus lesser names (Floyd and Moore).  It's just too obvious at times that the popularity of a player or team effects Madden attributes.  Don't get me wrong, Bryant has a fantastic drop percentage.  That said, what about Moore and Floyd?  Moore has a great CAT at 90, but what is the reasoning for Bryant having 4 points more than Moore and 6 more points than Floyd?  This is why Madden fans get so frustrated with attribute ratings.

2.  Robert Meachem must not have had much support from the Saints fan base.  How on earth does he receive an 83 CAT attribute.  Charger fans, feel free to tweet @Donny_Moore about this one.  It makes no sense to me.

3.  Jordy Nelson enjoyed a breakout season during 2011; he only had 2 drops all year (2.86% drop rate).  That is an excellent drop rate, but should his previous two seasons be ignored.  I don't think so.  This is when we get into trouble with Madden ratings; one great season (or bad season) should not be the only factor.

Are Madden ratings based on only the most current year?  I don't think so, nor should it.  EA gives many veterans the benefit of the doubt for past performance.  The question is, how far back do you go?  I like 3 seasons, some might like 2 or 4.  Either way, we shouldn't put too much weight into one season.

Currently, Nelson has the 3rd highest CAT attribute among WR's.  I say, let him prove it one more year before including him with the ELITE pass catchers.  Think of it this way, does Nelson deserve to have the same CAT attribute as Reggie Wayne?  I don't think he does.



1.  This table includes many rookies and players who don't have a high number of receptions.  This is pure inconsistency.  The players with RED highlighted percentages are below the NFL average.  Notice Armstrong is the only WR below the Madden 13 average in CAT, while Decker is right on the average.  Do I even need to address how bad the Sanzenbacher rating fo 82 is?

2.  Victor Cruz, had a great year in 2011 and came out of no where to do it.  Unfortunately, for Cruz, I am not a Giants fan who will ignore his drops.  Donny Moore got beat up all year in regards to Victor's attributes, he responded by giving him an inaccurate CAT attribute.

We only have one NFL season to evaluate Cruz, in that season he was clearly worse than the average wide receiver in drop percentage.  So why did this statistic get ignored by EA?  Why did Cruz end up with the 5th highest catch attribute for a WR in Madden 13?  The answer, perception.  All people talked about were the great things Cruz was doing on the field, while forgetting to mention that he does have an issue with dropped passes.  This needs to stop.  Would this error really get by an objective team of evaluators?  

4.  It should be noted, that Darrius Heyward-Bey did improve last year with an 8.57% drop rate.  Prior to last season, he was flat out awful.  When you look at the last three seasons put together, he still has a horrible drop percentage.  Despite his track record, Heyward-Bey received an 83 CAT attribute, which is five points higher than the Madden 13 average of 78.

Some Raider fans think DHB is getting the short end of the stick, I think they should be content with his current rating and see if he can duplicate or improve on his 2011 performance.  I will continue to say, "One season should not make or break a players Madden attributes."


In future blogs, I will cover the catch in traffic (CIT) and spectacular catch (SPC) attributes as well as doing a Tight End blog very soon.

Thanks for reading this blog and have a great weekend.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Madden 13 player ratings - Running Back catch (CAT) attribute inconsistency

UPDATE - Here is my newest blog post on the Tight End catch (CAT) attribute:

Here is my blog post on Wide Receiver catch (CAT) attribute:


Over the course the next several weeks, I will be taking a deep look at several different Madden 13 attributes that directly impact gameplay.  Since the full Running Back attributes were released last Friday, I decided to look at the RB catch attribute.  Here are the full RB attributes from EA: 

I've done catch (CAT) blogs in the past, but never with RB's.  How many times has your RB dropped a wide open pass?  Did you ever question his catch (CAT) attribute rating?  In this blog, you will see that perception and reality are two different things.  Using and, I was able to gather three years of statistics for NFL RB's.  ProFootballFocus tracks drops and catchable targets, with those two statistics they calculate a drop % for RB's, WR's, and TE's.  I added up the annual statistics to give us a 3-year look at the total receptions, catchable targets, drops, and drop % for the RB's.

Let's start off with the combined statistics of ALL RB's and WR's over the last three seasons:

Of course, this blog is about RB's, but I wanted you to see the wide receiver numbers as well.  The fact that wide receivers drop passes at a higher rate than running backs should not be a big surprise.  The coverage on wide receivers tends to be tighter and the routes they run are more difficult.  Passes to running backs tend to travel a shorter distance which could also explain the 0.93% difference.  

For the purposes of this blog, we will compare RB's to the RB drop statistics only.

First, I decided to look at the top 10 and bottom 10 running backs when it comes to the catch (CAT) attribute in Madden 13.  The average attributes are for RB only, I removed FB's.

BLUE = better than the NFL average

RED = worse than the NFL average

M12 = Final Madden 12 attribute

M13 = Original Madden 13 attribute (as of 8/10/12)

Here are the top 10:


1.  Reggie Bush and Matt Forte have earned a high catch attribute based on these statistics.  One could even argue that they shouldn't be 3 points apart, but in general this is a good start.

2.  Darren Sproles is better than the NFL average, but he appears to be a notch below Bush and Forte in regards to actually securing the catch.  That said, why is he rated so close to Bush when drop percentage is 3.8% more?  

Let's be clear, the number of total catches should not be the only statistic considered when rating the catch attribute.  Drop % can not be ignored.  If the catch (CAT) attribute in Madden 13 determines how often a player will catch a pass, than actual NFL drop statistics should be utilized for ALL catch attributes.  You've heard me say several times, that you need to look at all available statistics to see the entire picture.

3.  It should be very obvious that neither Tim Hightower or Mike Goodson belong in the top 10.  How does this happen?  Simple, EA doesn't have enough resources (personnel) to provide accurate attributes on all players.  Expanding the ratings team would help reduce these errors.

4.  What about Murray?  He only has one season under his belt, but based on last year's statistics he hasn't earned the right to be in the top 10 yet.  In fact, he should have been decreased more coming into Madden 13.


Here are the bottom 10:


1.  Even with a limited amount of targets, Green-Ellis and Hardesty are living up to their poor CAT attribute rating.  

2.  Blount is below the NFL average, but he is better than the 49 CAT he currently has.  The Madden 13 average is 68.1 and he is currently 19 points below that even though he is only 0.9% below the NFL average.  While he may never be the center piece in a passing game, he deserves better.

3.  The funny thing about DeAngelo Williams, is his drop % is better than:  Hightower, Goodson, and Murray, all of whom are in the top 10.  This is inconsistency and inaccuracy at it's best.  Is Williams top 10 material in this attribute?  Hell no, but neither are the other three.  


Here are 18 other notable running backs:

1.  I shouldn't even have to point out how bad these attributes really are.  This is just a sample, it's much worse if you look at all Madden running backs.

2.  It's no secret that Peyton Hillis struggled last year, but come on.  The dude has only dropped 3 catchable passes the last three seasons.  He lost four points to his CAT from M12 to M13; in all reality he has earned the right to be in the top 10 in regards to this attribute.  Again, the CAT attribute is the ability to catch the pass; plain and simple.  Hillis can still catch the ball with the best of them.

3.  It's not up for debate, Pierre Thomas should be in the top 5 in RB catch attribute.  It's laughable that Hightower, Goodson, and Murray are rated better than Thomas.  BTW - He has the best drop % out of these RB's and he is better than the current top 10.  

4.  Both Ray Rice and MJD are slightly underrated.  Hell, MJD lost a point from M12 to M13.  Really?  

5.  Frank Gore is 7 points better than the Madden 13 average, but in reality he is 2% worse than the NFL average for RB's over the last three years.  Gore's rating is based on perception, not current reality.  Three years trending downward should be enough to justify a more accurate catch rating for Gore.  Maybe EA doesn't want to hear all of the Niner fans scream injustice, so they give Gore a pass.  What Gore did 4, 5, and 6 years ago should no longer be relevant in his current Madden ratings.  This is Madden 13, not Madden 07.

6.  If Frank Gore is a 75 CAT with a 10.2% drop percentage, than what does that mean for Marshawn Lynch who has a 10.3% drop percentage but only a 54 CAT attribute.  Yes, Gore has more catches, but Gore's ability to actually catch the ball has not been significantly better than Lynch over the last three seasons.  Is Lynch really 21 points worse than Gore.  Don't get me wrong, Lynch is not a stud in the passing game, but the 11th worst CAT rating for a RB doesn't seem accurate based on these numbers.  In no way am I saying Lynch should be a 75 CAT, neither of them deserve that at this point.  A catch attribute in the low 60's seems more fitting.


The current range for running back catch (CAT) attributes is 40 to 86, with an average of 68.1.  Remember,  I removed the full backs so the Madden 13 averages are running backs only.  If the average drop percentage for NFL running backs is 8.2%, than shouldn't players with a similar percentage be closer to the Madden average.  

The goal of this blog was not to bash EA or Donny Moore, it was to show that there tools are available for creating more accurate catch attributes in Madden 13.  The fact is, it takes time to put this data together.  Time is not something Donny Moore has a lot of (from what I've gathered).  I don't know about you, but I would take fewer roster updates to have more accurate player attributes.

I will be the first to volunteer to for any community based Madden Ratings team.  It's clear EA needs help, now they just have to ask and accept the help.  

Thanks for following my blog.  Slowly, but surely we are making progress.  This was never going to be an overnight fix and I am here for the long haul.  

Have a great week.  Wide Receiver and Tight End ratings are coming up next.


Monday, August 6, 2012

EA Madden 13 Running Back's - My observations on the Top 10 (based on OVR only).

UPDATE 8/10/12 - Here are the full Madden 13 Running Back attribute ratings: 


Earlier today (8/6/12), EA Sports released a video revealing the top 10 Running Backs in Madden 13 (Here is the link -  The top 10 is based on overall (OVR) rating only.  Since that video was released, the debate has been non-stop on Madden forums, twitter and facebook.

I decided to take a statistical look at the new top 10.  I gathered the following rushing statistics from  These are regular season statistics only.  There are several resources on the web were you can obtain these statistics  I know these are not the only statistics to consider, but until that full attributes are released, we can't dig much deeper.  In the end, attributes are what matter, not OVR.  I plan to do a more in-depth blog after the full RB attributes are released.

Here are the statistics and a few definitions:

Yards per tch = Average yards per touch (rushing + receiving yards) (rushing attempts + receptions)

TD% = (Rushing TD's + Receiving TD's) / (rushing attempts + receptions).  It's the player's chance of scoring a TD per touch.

RED = Best among these players in each individual attribute.


1.  I decided to take a three year look at these RB's.  I don't support kneejerk ratings after one good season (see:  Peyton Hillis of Madden 12).  Consistency should be considered when ranking players and assigning attributes.  That said, there is a limit to how far back you should go.  If you have to go back more then four seasons to find great numbers, the player is most likely past their prime.  Rate the player's performance, not the player's name.

2.  I included Lynch, McFadden, and Johnson because those RB's kept coming up in the debates I observed.

3.  Based on these statistics, it should be clear that Lynch doesn't belong in the top 10.  While he had a bounce-back season in 2011, he needs to show a lot more consistency to be in my top 10.  Lynch had the lowest amount of yards per game and per touch among these RB's.   He will have every opportunity to earn his way into the top 10, but that would require another great season in 2012.  Kudos to Donny Moore for leaving Lynch out.

4.  Darren McFadden is another player that many people think should be in the top 10.  I couldn't disagree more.  You can't argue with his level of talent, but to be considered in my top 10 you need to be on the field or completely blow away the competition despite missing games.  McFadden does lead this group in average yards per reception and is second in yards per touch.  Run DMC is certainly knocking on the door and one healthy season might be all he needs to crack the top 10.

5.  The biggest snub is clearly Chris Johnson.  His numbers over that last three seasons can not be ignored.  Yes, by his standards, he had a down year in 2011 (1047 yard rushing, 418 yard receiving, 57 receptions and 4 TDs), but should that really cost him a spot in the top 10?  He has the most rushing yards among these RB's and is third in total yards per game (behind only Rice and Jones-Drew).   So who gets knocked out of the top 10 to make room for Johnson.  My pick is Steven Jackson.

6.  Steven Jackson is a beast, no one can deny that.  He plays for one of the worst teams in the NFL and defenses have focused on stopping him for years, but some of these statistics are far from elite.  He has the worst average per reception in this group and his TD% is absolutely horrible.  Jackson barely beats out Lynch when it comes to yards per touch and yards per attempt.  As much as I like the way Jackson plays the game, he is no longer a top 10 RB in my opinion.

7.  Honestly, what Jones-Drew did last season with that pathetic QB, is absolutely amazing.  MJD seemed to get better the worse his QB played.  While defenses do everything they can to stop him, he still finds a way to put up amazing numbers.  He is 2nd in rushing yards and total yards per game among these RB's.  His TD% is in the middle of the pack, but it's twice as good as Jackson's. He is also a work horse, leading this group in carries.  Does he deserve to be tied for the top spot with AP?  I think so.

8.  Speaking of AP.  Believe it or not, someone in a Madden forum suggested that Peterson not be in the top 10 for Madden 13.  I am sorry, but that is just crazy.  Not only does AP rack up the all purpose yards, he is on a different level when it comes to scoring TD's.  He has scored 44 TD's over the last three seasons.  The 2nd best total in this group, 34 TD's from Jones-Drew.  Get this, when Peterson touches that ball, there is 4.9% chance he will score.  The is 0.7% better than the next guy, over twice as good as Forte, and over three times better than Jackson.  I have no problem with AP being ranked #1, but he should be watched closely this year, since he is coming off of a horrible knee injury.

9.  So what about Arian Foster?  Doesn't he deserve to be considered the #1 RB?  Yes, he should definitely be in the conversation.  He is a complete running back and can take it to the house at any moment via run or pass.  He takes a hit in these statistics because he wasn't a full time player in 2009.  It wasn't until the end of 2009 that the Texans started to see what he could do.  I would not argue with someone who wanted to rank Foster as the #1 RB in Madden 13.  Right now he is a very close #2 who could  easily end the season at the top RB.

10.  Charles is another RB that some people would remove from this list.  He missed 14 games in 2011, after having two very productive seasons.  Charles leads this group in yards per carry and yards per touch.  If you are someone who thinks McFadden should be in the top 10, just compare him to Charles.  The number of games played and total touches is very close for these two RB's, but Charles in superior in every category except receiving yards.  He also blows away Lynch, despite missing so many games.  If you told me that you would rather have Chris Johnson instead of Charles, I wouldn't argue with that, but would you rather have Charles or Jackson?  Assuming Charles is healthy, I will take him over Jackson at this point in his career.

11.  By the end of the season, I think both Gore and Jackson will drop out of the top 10.  Johnson should jump into one of those spots after a bounce-back season, leaving the other spot could be up for grabs.  A motivated Lynch or a healthy McFadden could easily take that spot.

12.  Overall, I think EA and Donny Moore did a great job with the top 10 (based on OVR only).  We can argue who should be 1 through 3, but we will be splitting hairs.  The top five names on that list are elite RB's,  the next 5 RB's are the more debatable ones in my opinion.    My only change would be to include Chris Johnson and remove Steven Jackson.


I typically don't dig deep into the OVR rating.  In this blog I tried to view it more as a RANKING only and offer my opinion.  My approach is different when I review attributes.  The statistics will be much deeper and we will use them to see how accurate the attributes actually are.

Have a great week and thank you for following my blog.  I will release my next blog this weekend after I review all of the RB attributes.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Madden 13 Player ratings - QB accuracy, carry, and throwing power attributes. My thoughts.

It's been three days since EA Sports released the full Madden 13 attribute ratings for Quarterbacks.  You can find it here:  (After opening the page, look for the HERE in blue.  Click on it and you can download the full excel file).

First, I would like to say thank you to EA Sports and Donny Moore for providing the full excel file.  It's a great tool for fans and makes my job much easier for evaluating and tracking the attributes.  Now, if we can just get them to show all the attributes that were changed with each weekly roster update, we will have it all. I can dream, can't I?

In this blog, I will review five specific QB attributes.  It will include the top 10 QB's in regards to those attributes and some other notable QB's for comparison.  

The attributes I will look at are:

SAC - Short Accuracy
MAC - Mid Accuracy
DAC - Deep Accuracy
CAR - Carry
THP - Throwing Power

 To be clear, these are not my ratings, these are EA's default ratings for Madden 13.  

For deep accuracy (passes targeted 20 or more yards down-field) and completion percentage on passes targeted under 20 yards, I referred to and their signature stats.  While they do supply specific deep accuracy statistics, they don't provide specific statistics on passes targeted less than 20 yards down-field.  I had to get creative.

I took their completion percentage statistics and subtracted their deep passing statistics, which left me all the data for passes targeted less than 20 yards down-field.

I used PFF for this because it's a source Donny Moore has claimed to use for Madden ratings in the past and present.  I encourage all of you to check out PFF, they are a great source for NFL statistics.

Please note:  Pro Football Focus has their own custom completion percentage statistics for all QB's. It's the most in depth completion percentage you will find.  They subtract:  spiked balls, batted balls, throw aways, and hit as thrown from the total number of attempts.  Then, they add dropped passes to all completions and divide that by the new number of attempts.  To get the number for completion percentage less than (<) 20 yards, I subtracted their deep passing statistics from the grand total.  

I realize that some people might not agree with this way of looking at QB accuracy; therefore, I also included the standard NFL completion percentage that can be found at multiple websites.

For each statistic, I added up all QB's for each of the last three seasons to come up with averages for the league.  I only included true QB's in the averages, no passing statistics by any other position player were included.  I wanted to compare QB's to QB's only.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find statistics on passes under 10 yards.  For this section I used the same statistics to look at SAC and MAC.


1.  You can see based on the NFL averages, that the average NFL QB is very accurate on pass attempts targeted less than 20 yards down-field.  These averages should be the bench mark for comparison.

2.  As usual, Brees and Rodgers are neck and neck in the statistics and the attribute ratings.  Remember, the standard NFL completion % does not account for spikes, throw aways, drops, batted balls, or hit as thrown pass attempts.  That is why there is such a big difference in the two statistics, plus the fact that the deep passing statistics have been subtracted from the <20 yard Completion %.  

Some people will argue that Rodgers should be #1 in SAC, while other will back Brees.  We are splitting hairs at this point, they are both ELITE in regards to passes targeted less than 20 yards down field.  

3.  There is a clear difference between Rodgers/Brees and the next level of QB's.  I would argue that Peyton Manning belongs in the conversation for #3, despite missing last year.  

4.  In my opinion, after Brees and Rodgers, there should be a bigger gap.  Eli, Brady, and Rivers are clearly a notch below the top two.  

5.  While Luck and Moore had elite college completion percentages, we can't forget that, in college, pass catchers only need to have one foot in bounds for a pass to be ruled completed.  

Should any rookie be in the top 10 in SAC prior to ever throwing a pass in the NFL?  That is something the entire ratings team should talk about prior to assigning the attribute ratings.  Remember - I think a ratings team should consist of at least 8 individuals, with each of them following not only the entire NFL, but a specific division (they should not be assigned to a division that their favorite team is in).  I think this type of team will reduce bias and result in more consistency in Madden attribute ratings.

6.  My biggest snub is Alex Smith.  Yes, his standard NFL completion percentage is right near the NFL average, but he clearly competes with Stafford, Ryan and even Eli on passes targeted less than 20 yards down-field.  It's Smith's deep accuracy that brings down his standard completion percentage.  

BTW - Before anyone thinks it, I am not a 49er or Smith fan.  As a Seahawk fan, I can't stand the 49ers.  

My goal is to always be objective, no matter how much I personally dislike a player or team:)



1.  Remember, I am using the same stats for both SAC and MAC due to not being able to find specific statistics on passes targeted less than 10 yards down field.  If someone knows a site that includes that information, let me know and I will update this ASAP.

2.  I absolutely love the MAC ratings for Rodgers and Brees (Great job Donny Moore).  What I really like is the gap between the top two and the rest of the QB's.  This is similar to what I would like to see in the SAC attributes.  

3.  I completely disagree with Andrew Luck at 90.  Is he really better than Eli, Peyton, and Rivers?  He hasn't even thrown an NFL pass yet.  Let him prove it before giving him the 3rd best MAC rating in Madden 13.  The hype for Luck has been huge; EA has clearly bet on Luck being elite from day 1.  His 60 awareness (AWR) is the only attribute keeping him from having an ELITE overall (OVR); he comes into Madden 13 at 84 OVR.  Maybe, we can blame this on Cam Newton.  Many experts thought Newton wouldn't pan out, but he exceeded expectations.  Maybe EA is trying to plan ahead with Luck.  

If history has shown us anything, it's that there is a good chance either Luck or RGIII will fail to live up to expectations.  Who's it going to be?  Maybe this pair will be the exception.  

4.  Once again, Peyton Manning is paying the price for missing a season due to injury.  Isn't that what the injury (INJ) attribute is for.  There was a ton of speculation about his throwing ability post-surgery, but doesn't he deserve the benefit of the doubt.  Let his play on the field be the reason for a decrease in accuracy attributes, not speculation.  Is it crazy to think Manning should be #3 on this list?

5.  Alex Smith is the snub again.  This time the gap is worse.  Doesn't he stack up to Stafford, Ryan, and Big Ben when looking at passes attempted less than 20 yards down-field.  Yes, he does.  I believe his SAC and MAC attributes are low to keep his OVR down (currently 83 for Madden 13).  This is why I continue to ask for a separate ranking system. 

Assigning inaccurate attributes just to keep OVR down is one of the biggest problem in Madden player ratings.  Don't take my word for it.  Go look at statistics on your own and compare them to the attributes; it doesn't take long to see what is really going on. 

6.  I challenge everyone to take a look at ALL the QB's and compare the actual statistics to the attribute ratings.  When you find legitimate inaccuracies, send a tweet out to @Donny_Moore and ask him to explain it.  He tends to dodge direct questions and may never get back to you, but keep sending the tweets.  The best advice I can give you is to be objective, don't just say, "hey my favorite player is getting screwed."  Provide logical information and maybe someone will finally take note.  Like it or not, Donny Moore is the only game in town right now, so let your voices be heard. 


* The deep accuracy (DAC) statistics are from


1.  FACT - Deep Accuracy (DAC) is one of the most inaccurate and  inconsistently rated attributes in Madden.  Some of the best statistics PFF provides are the deep passing statistics.  Their Acc % is based on passes targeted 20 or more yards down-field (in the air).  They add completions to dropped passes and divide it by the total deep attempts.  The QB gets credit for putting the ball right on the money, even when his receiver drops it.  That's the definition of an objective statistic.

2.  Eli Manning is flat out overrated in this attribute.  It's plan and simple.  Get this - From the Wildcard Game to the Super Bowl, EA increased Eli's DAC by 10 points in Madden 12.  That right, he went into the playoffs with an 86 DAC.  Can you say knee jerk reaction and prisoner of the moment?  This type of attribute rating has to stop.  Yes, Eli attempted the most passes 20 or more yards down-field, but last I checked attempts don't equal completions.  Maybe he should get an increase in throwing power (THP) or stamina, but he is simply NOT the most accurate QB when it comes to the deep ball.  One great catch during a Super Bowl should not erase years of statistics.  

For the record, here are Eli's deep statistics from the playoffs: 14 attempts, 6 completions, 0 drops, for a completion percentage of 42.9%.  

That's right, he was worse during the playoffs than he was during the regular season; but somehow EA justified a 10 point increase.  Why does this happen?   Once again, EA is trying to manipulate OVR.  In this case they are using DAC to increase it. 

3.  Is it just me, or is Drew Brees getting completely disrespected with his 84 DAC attribute.  Let's see.  Over the last 3 years, no one has been better; and last year, he was 3rd in deep accuracy.  Why an 84?  

Hell, he lost 3 points off his final Madden 12 attribute.  Honestly, this is what drives Madden fans crazy when it comes to ratings and attributes.  I call it like I see it and this is pure BS.

4.  While Drew Brees was busy getting 3 points knocked off his DAC, Josh Freeman was receiving a 10 point boost during his off time.  Pay close attention, this is where a real ratings TEAM would help.  Let's say Donny comes to me and says, "Hey, Josh Freeman was 2nd in the NFL in deep accuracy last year, let's raise him 10 points."  I would say, "You're kidding right?  He only attempted 36 deep passes last year and you can't just ignore his 3 year average of 41.67% (just above the NFL average)."  Donny would get mad, but if he was being objective, he would realize I was right.  If more support was needed, you could ask the other 6 team members.  Stats are great, but you need to look at the entire picture.  In this case, Donny has not looked at the entire picture.  He will defend his position by saying he was 2nd in deep passing completion % last year, unfortunately for him, now you know the truth.  

I include the most recent year and the three previous seasons for a reason, I believe it's a more accurate way to represent the player.  Veteran players have a body of work and only looking at one season just doesn't make much sense to me.  That said, a veteran can't live off the past forever.    

5.  Cough, cough.  Sorry Tom Brady, but you don't belong in the top 5 anymore when it comes to DAC.  You were below the league average over the last 3 seasons and this can not be ignored.  Even the great Tom Brady needs to receive objective attribute ratings.  I am not saying he isn't a great QB anymore, but he is close to average in this particular attribute.  BTW - I know the Patriot fans are going to make up every excuse in the world to explain these numbers, I've heard many of them already.  The truth can hurt at times.

6.  Now I will give Donny Moore a ton of credit for finally realizing that Matt Ryan is a below average deep passer.  Before you mention all of the dropped passes last year, just remember that PFF credits the QB with a completion on any dropped pass that was deemed "catchable".  Great job Donny, now apply this same logic to Tim Tebow and we will be moving in the right direction.  

Ryan received an 11 point decrease between M12 and M13, he deserved every bit of it.  It's frustrating to see that with one player Donny can be spot on, but with another player he appears to be just guessing.  We know you have it in you, Donny.  If you need help, just ask.

7.  Not Matt Schaub again.  He loses a point over the off season for having above average deep passing accuracy last year and more importantly over the last 3 years.  This is just par for the course.  Texan fans need to speak up and let @Donny_Moore know about this one.


For the carry (CAR) attribute at the QB position, I used career numbers for comparison.  Most QB's get very few carries as a ball carrier, therefore looking at career statistics will result more accurate ratings in my opinion.

Att + Sacks = Total number of rushing attempts plus total number of times sacked.

Total FUM% = includes rushing fumble and sack fumble statistics

For a complete breakdown of QB rushing fumble % and sack fumble % (my M13 suggestions included), see this blog:

*Fumble, rushing attempts, and sack statistics were gathered from 


1.  The single most disturbing thing about the NEW QB carry attributes, is that almost all of them are exactly the same as Madden 12.  That is unfortunate for the gamer, as the will have to deal with inaccurate CAR attributes that could have easily been corrected.  The QB CAR attribute doesn't even impact a QB's OVR in Madden.  Simply put, there is absolutely no excuse for inaccurate CAR attributes.  Fumble statistics are widely available.  While I had to create my own fumble per touch percentages, it would not be difficult for anyone to duplicate.  My QB CAR blog was released on July 1st, so maybe there is hope for Madden 13.  

In response to my tweets questioning the "New" Madden 13 QB carry attributes, Donny Moore tweeted me this on Aug 4th, 2012:

   I will definitely take a look before first roster update for QB CAR ratings, thanks, nice article.

The article he is referring to, is my July 1st QB carry blog (link is locate above spreadsheet). We can only hope Donny stands by that statement, especially since the attribute has gone untouched since Madden 12.

2.  Take note of the NFL average and compare it to the QB's in the above table.  Names like: Vick, Rodgers,  Ryan, Henne, Batch, and Hasselbeck should really jump out at you.  Each of them has a completely unacceptable CAR attribute based on their fumble percentage.  All of them are vastly underrated by EA.

Remember, the CAR attribute in Madden impacts how often the player will fumble the ball.  Turnovers are extremely important in both the NFL and Madden football, this attribute needs to be as accurate as possible, no exceptions.  A more accurate CAR attribute will result in a improved gameplay experience for the gamer.

3.  Don't forget Tim Tebow.  The #1 QB in carry attribute for Madden 13.  While he is much better than the NFL average, Cam Newton is even better.  Is there really 34 points difference between Tebow and Rodgers, or is that a typo?  It's not a typo.  Packer fans, are you actually going to sit in silence while Rodgers gets completely disrespected?

What about Ryan and Vick?  In reality, are they that much worse than Tebow when it comes to protecting the football?  Nope.

Again, let's see what happens once the game is released.


Next up is throwing power (THP):


1.  This is one of the most subjective attributes in Madden.  I believe an attribute this subjective should be rated only after a team of individuals have thoroughly reviewed hours of game tape and scouting reports.  While some will say the average per attempt should indicate throwing power, I completely disagree.  There are too many variables in average per attempt.  Things like yards after catch (YAC) and offensive scheme will have a huge impact on a QB's average per attempt.  Again, it's not the top players that are difficult for EA to rate, it's the average to good players that give them the biggest problem.  Throwing power has been a very important attribute when it comes to Madden gameplay.  Many gamers will use a QB with a higher throwing power over one with high higher accuracy and a weaker arm.

Throwing power (THP) is tied with awareness (AWR) as the 2nd most important attribute in the overall (OVR) formula for QB's in Madden.  You will find that many 2nd and 3rd tier QB's who have a high THP will have very inaccurate/inconsistent accuracy attributes.  This is to hold back OVR.

2.  Brock Osweiler at 96 just doesn't seem right.  Per Scouts Inc. "Arm strength is good but not elite. "  Here is the link:  I am not saying that Scouts Inc. is only source you should look at, but they are a highly respected source for scouting and shouldn't be ignored.  Being a PAC-10 fan, I've seen Osweiler play several times.  I don't ever remember him being described with "Elite" arm strength.  A 96 THP indicates that EA believes he has "Elite" arm strength.  

3.  I admit, John Skelton at 96 had me scratching my head.  So I check Scouts Inc. again, and this is what they said, "Elite in this area. Absolute howitzer for an arm."  Here is that scouting report:  

Here are a couple of videos of Skelton:

The dude does have a laser for an arm.  Of course, these are highlights. 

Since this is a very subjective attribute, I encourage you to do some research and watch some tape to come to your own conclusion. 

4.   For these subjective attributes, it helps to look at the Madden average (in this case 87.4).  By looking at the average for an attribute you can get a good idea of how EA views the player.  I highlighted some players that were below average in RED.  Do you agree that those players are below average in arm strength? 

5.  With the exception of Osweiler, I think Donny Moore did a very good job with the top 10 for this attribute.  Leave a comment if you agree or disagree.

6.  Here are some articles and videos regarding arm strength that you might find interesting:


UPDATE - Here is my newest blog on the top 10 Madden 13 Running Backs:

Thanks for following my blog.  Don't forget to vote in my latest poll (right hand side of the page).  Have a great week.  My next blog will be on the NEW RB ratings and attributes.