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.


1 comment:

  1. Another great post Michael. Very good information! I hope someone at EA is looking at this. What do you think about this fan voting on ratings??? I think its just a marketing ploy to get the hype up. I understand its all about sales but people are going to buy regardless....if this infinity engine doesn't make the game substantially better, I might be done with madden.