Sunday, June 17, 2012

Attribute Spotlight - Block Shed (BSH) ratings DE's and DT's in Madden 12.

The idea for this blog came from Clifton Beeker Jr (twitter: @blood9585) who won the first Annual Madden Manniac giveaway contest.  I selected his idea as the winner and preordered him a copy of Madden 13 through

Here is his idea:

May 28, 2012 7:49 PM
Interested to see really how the block shed rating is determined for top run stuffing and elite pass rushing defensive linemen.

Xbox 360
The rest of this blog post will be my take on this idea.  He wanted top run stuffing and elite pass rushing defensive lineman in this blog, so I decided to use Madden 12's final overall (OVR) ratings to select these players.  Why not use EA's own ratings and see how it plays out. (Please note - I typically don't use OVR rating for anything in my blogs because I believe the formula is extremely flawed.)  In the end, the cut for each position ended up being 84 OVR or better.  I also got the average BSH rating for all LE's, RE's, and DT's in Madden 12.  

One of the reasons I choose this idea as the winner is because I knew it would be a challenge.  If you have followed my blogs in the past, then you know I believe attribute ratings should be as objective as possible.  The block shed (BSH) attribute has a component of subjectivity that can't be ignored, therefore it's a challenging attribute to rate.  

The biggest problem with rating BSH, is how to rate players who get constantly double-teamed.  Many dominate defensive lineman face a lot of double-teams, this has a negative impact on their statistics.  Not to mention, defensive lineman in a 3-4 scheme tend to face more double-teams then those in a 4-3 scheme.  That said, some of the best defensive lineman can even beat double teams from time to time.  In the case of the block shed (BSH) attribute, statistics can't possibly tell the whole story.  Don't get me wrong, I still think statistics play an important role with this attribute, but so does the eye test and that is where the subjectivity (bias) comes in to play.  

To date I have not found a website that tracks the number of times or the percentage (%) of plays that an individual player is double-teamed.  If there was such a statistic I think the BSH attribute could be much more objective and less subjective.  The key to rating the BSH attribute is to watch a lot of game tape and  combine that with useful statistics.  Unfortunately, the "Madden ratings team" isn't big enough to give the BSH attribute that kind of attention, they just don't have the resources.  

My goal was to try and figure out what statistics (if any) were used to rate the BSH attribute.  I would also be taking a close look at the consistency of the attribute rating as well.

First, I collected the BSH rating for every LE, RE, and DT from the final roster update in Madden 12.  This allowed me to come up with an average, mode (the most reoccurring number), and a range for the BSH attribute.  Here are the results:

You can see from the above table that Defensive Tackles have the highest average BSH attribute, followed by Right and Left Ends.  The Modes (most reoccurring number) are very close and the ranges are similar as well.  

Next I created spreadsheets for all three positions which included:  Overall rating (OVR), Strength (STR), Power Move (PMV), Finesse Move (FMV), and BSH attributes.  I also included their sack totals from 2011 and the last three seasons.  The sack statistics where gathered from  

I added two ratings from  The first is the Pass Rush Productivity (PRP) rating, which is derived from sacks, QB pressures, and QB hits.  Basically, the PRP gives you more information to consider when determining how effective a player is as a pass rusher.  Sacks alone don't paint a full picture.  The second ratings I used from was their Run Stop % rating.  This is their definition of stop %, "Stops constitute a "loss" for the offense so this table shows the percentage of stops per snap played only in run defense."

I choose these two statistics from PFF because I believe they can aid in rating the BSH attribute.  By no means do I think any of these statistics should be the sole resource for rating BSH.  
Here is the spreadsheet for LE's:

BLUE = highest or best in that category.

An (*) indicates the player has been in the league less than 3 years.

The average BSH attribute for all LE's in Madden 12 was 75.8.  

The first thing that should jump out at you is that Robert Mathis has a BSH attribute of 69, that is almost 7 points lower than the average BSH attribute for all LE's.  You can look at all the statistics and game tape you want, but I would be embarrassed if I had to take credit for this rating.  Did you know that there is a longsnapper named John Denney who has a block shed of 70?  Mr. Denney has a total of 29 tackles in 7 seven seasons with zero sacks, yet he has a better BSH than Robert Mathis.  Really?

Mathis is not alone, there are several top LE's at or below the average BSH rating.  Why is this happening?  I will address that question later in this blog.
Here is the spreadsheet for RE's:

BLUE = highest or best in that category.

An (*) indicates the player has been in the league less than 3 years.

The average BSH attribute for all RE's in Madden 12 was 76.2.  

The players that immediately jumped out at me in this spreadsheet, were:  Peppers, Freeney, Umenyiora, and Dumervil.  Again, these ratings are embarrassing.  Remember long snapper John Denney?  His 70 BSH is higher then that of Dumervil, Peppers, and Freeney.    

Look at Trent Cole; he is among the top players at this position in sacks and was first among this group in both PFF ratings. Yet, he only has a 77 BSH which is just a tick above the Madden average for RE's.
Here is the spreadsheet for DT's:

BLUE = highest or best in that category.

An (*) indicates the player has been in the league less than 3 years.

The average BSH attribute for all DT's in Madden 12 was 80.5.  

The defensive tackles have the highest BSH attribute among the defensive lineman.  There is a lot of inconsistency among these 22 players.  Most defensive tackles don't rack up the sacks and in the case of the 3-4 Nose Tackles, they face a lot of double-teams.  Because they play in the trenches, this is probably the toughest position when it comes to rating BSH.  You may have noticed, that many of the stronger DT's have the higher BSH ratings among this group.  Hmmm.

Here are a few Defensive Tackles who have lower OVR ratings, but have high STR and BSH attributes:

After reviewing all of the data, I started to see a trend.  It seems like many of the DE's and DT's with a higher strength (STR) attribute, also had a high BSH attribute.  This didn't occur in all cases, but enough to make me want to do a scatter plot to see if there was a correlation among these 63 players.

Here is the scatter plot comparing the BSH attribute to STR:

It's widely accepted that any R^2 value 0.80 or higher is a strong correlation.  The closer the R^2 is to 1.0 or -1.0, the stronger the relationship.  The closer the R^2 value is to 0 the weaker the relationship.    

You can see this data set has an R^2 of 0.7714.  While not over 0.80,  there is still a clear positive correlation.  Some might argue it's a strong correlation even though it's slightly below the 0.80 benchmark. For more information on this type of statistical analysis check out this link:


So what does all of this information tell us?  Honestly, it's does tell us much.  After going through all of the attributes and statistics I can't find anything truly consistent about how the "Madden ratings team" assigns the BSH attribute.  I do believe the strength attribute plays a part, but it's not as much of a factor when you look at players with a lower overall.  Strength is used by EA to manipulate the OVR ratings of some players, especially DT's.  Both awareness and strength are tied as the #1 factor in the Defensive Tackle overall (OVR) formula.  BSH, PMV, and FMV, are all tied as the 2nd most influential attributes in the OVR formula for DTs.  So, both STR and BSH can be used to reward or penalize a defensive tackle, even if it's not a true representation of the actual NFL version of that player.  For more on the Madden 12 OVR formula, check out this blog:

Can an NFL player be strong, but not excel at shedding blocks?  I believe the answer is clearly, "yes".  Shedding blocks is not all about strength.  With good technique a weaker player can shed blocks.  There are several techniques that defensive lineman learn to increase there chances of shedding a block.
Out of curiosity, I wanted to know how much the BSH attribute factors into simulated seasons and gameplay.  I simulated three seasons with the NY Giants (Year 1 for all three, with the same schedule).  First I turned the BSH attribute down to 0 for all of their DE's and DT's.  I didn't change any other attributes.  I turned injuries off, because I wanted the same players to be available for all three seasons.  

After the first season, not one player on the defensive line recorded a sack.  That's right, zero sacks for the defensive line with the BSH attribute at zero.  

I restarted the franchise for the next simulated season.  I turned the BSH attribute up to 99 for all of the defensive lineman.  Again, I didn't change any other attributes.  This time the defensive line accounted for 38.5 sacks.

For the third and final simulation, I restarted the season and turned the PMV and FMV up to 99 for all of the defensive lineman and set the BSH attribute to 0.  Again, the defensive line did NOT record a single sack and they only accounted for 9 total tackles as a group.  WOW.

Some people tell me that attributes don't matter.  I believe several attributes matter and for simulation purposes, BSH plays a huge role in the both sack and tackle statistics.  I know this was a drastic comparison by using 0 and 99, but it was the quickest way to see if there was an impact.

On top of the simulated seasons, I played 3 games against the CPU, one with each of these attribute settings.  I even picked a horrible team to play against (Jacksonville), just to give my 0 BSH defensive line a chance.  In the end, the 0 BSH teams had a very difficult time.  They gave up a lot of big runs to MJD and put very little pressure on the QB.  I even controlled several of my lineman and had very little success getting off the block.  When I played with the 99 BSH team, they not only applied more pressure to the QB, they played the run much better.

The point with this experiment, is that having realistic (accurate) BSH ratings should be a priority for the ratings team.  I believe this attribute is one of the most important for defensive players and it should be as accurate as possible.  Players like Peppers and Mathis are not nearly as effective as they should be, due to having a poor BSH attribute.  This needs to change.

So how should the BSH attribute be rated?  First and foremost, the "Madden ratings team" needs to be expanded so evaluators can watch more game tape.  In my opinion, watching tape and reviewing the best available statistics will produce the most accurate and consistent block shed ratings.  The ratings team needs to be expanded not only because there is limited time between roster updates, but also by having more people involved will reduce bias.  BSH is also an attribute that should NOT change week to week.  I believe a player can improve, but this attribute should not be used just to manipulate a player's OVR rating.  Accuracy and consistency in player ratings should always be the priority, regardless of the impact on OVR.

I would like to thank Clifton for his great idea and I hope I was able to shed some light on the BSH attribute.  Hopefully, the Block Shed attribute can be more accurate and consistent when it comes to Madden 13 player ratings.

*** View and vote on all of my Game Changer Ideas here: tuned for more Madden 13 player rating projections.  Thank you for following my blog.  You can also follow me on twitter @mannmicj

Happy Birthday to my wife, Julie and Happy Father's Day to all the great dads out there (mine included).

Saturday, June 9, 2012

As of now, Madden NFL 13 will NOT give gamers the ability to hold a fantasy draft.

**  UPDATE - Checkout my newest blog - Has EA and Donny Moore created a monster?    Click here for the answer.

I wanted to do a quick blog to touch on the fact that as of now Madden 13 will not have fantasy drafts.  EA has wowed many fans by adding physics to Madden 13 and the new Connected Career mode.  Unfortunately, EA is putting out an incomplete product.

EA did not forget to put in the Fantasy Draft option, they want the Madden Community to believe that they didn't have enough time to add it to Madden 13.

Here is a twitter conversation I had yesterday with EA senior designer for Madden 13, Josh Looman:

 "Fantasy Draft needed" is now the 3rd most voted on Game Changer idea:Please respond to community.

 Not sure what to say. We don’t have fantasy draft.

 Why not go into to forum and explain to the hundreds for online league fans as to why the feature could not be included. TY

 We didn’t have enough time. Simple as that. We’ll get to it as soon we can.

I'm sorry, but this excuse just doesn't cut it.  If I was to read between the lines, I would say that the fantasy draft option was not a priority for EA.  This is another example of them not being in touch with the community.

EA invites several gamers to their Community Day events to test the game and give feedback.  It's hard for me to believe that leaving out the fantasy draft was shared with these folks ahead of time.  If the Game Changers did know about this months ago, I am very disappointed they didn't demand that EA leave the fantasy draft option in Madden 13.  My suspicion, is that the Community Day folks did NOT know it was left out until last week at G3.

Remember, we are talking about an option that has been in Madden for years.  Are they really going to try and sell us the "New Fantasy Draft Mode" for Madden 14?  A quick poll of the community in their own forums, would have revealed the importance of the fantasy draft.

Many leagues are initially built by starting with a Fantasy Draft.  All 32 managers have a chance to draft their very own teams to fit their gaming style.  Do I even have to mention how popular Fantasy Football is in the United States and beyond?  This is the first big failure of Madden 13 and the game hasn't even been released yet.

I am glad the game has physics.  The jury is still out on connected careers (I need to play it first and don't trust the hype).  What I know for sure, is that right now we will not have the ability to hold a fantasy draft in Madden 13, online or offline.

Wake up EA and do whatever it takes to get the fantasy draft option back into Madden 13.

If you would like to let your voice be heard by voting and commenting on the "fantasy draft" topic, please go to this link

In just a few days, the "fantasy draft" topic has soared to the top of the idea list.  The sad part is, it's not a new idea.  We just want the option back.

*** View and vote on all of my Game Changer Ideas here:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Attribute Spotlight - Projecting Madden 13 rookie TE and OLB speeds.

ATTENTION - As of now Madden 13 will not give gamers the ability to hold fantasy drafts, online or offline.  If you would like to let your voice be heard by voting and commenting on the "fantasy draft" topic, please go to this link

This is the 4rd installment of my Madden 12 speed series.  It includes my OLB and TE speed projections for Madden 13.  For a full description of how I went about collecting the data and  projecting speeds (RB and CB included), please see my original speed blog at this link:

I strongly encourage you to read the first blog if you haven't already.  My projections will make more sense if you do.

I collected the speed ratings and 40 times of all Madden 12 rookie QBs, WRs, TEs, RBs, OLBs, ILBs, and CBs (299 players total).  I am fine tuning my formula as I collect more data, so there may be slight differences from my last blog as a result of that additional data.

Here is the new graph which now includes 299 rookies from Madden 12:

Remember the closer the points are to the trend-line, the stronger the correlation between 40 time and Madden 12 speed (SPD).  Several points are actually in the exact same location, basically stacking on one another.  My goal is to collect this data on all Madden 12 rookies, I still have several positions to go.  As discussed in my previous blog, any R^2 value over 0.80 is considered a strong correlation.  If you are interested, here is a link that explains this type of statistical analysis:

These predictions are based on Madden 12 rookie speed rating trends.  I don't claim that it is 100%, but I believe in many cases it's going to be very close.

Here are my Madden 13 speed (SPD) attribute projections for the incoming rookie OLBs (including all drafted, undrafted free agents who have signed with a team, and combine participants).

Courntey Upshaw received a 79 SPD for his MUT card, while I project a 77 SPD for Madden 13.  We all know MUT cards have inflated attributes, it's possible his speed will come down in the actual Madden 13 title.  Still, the projection is pretty close even if they use the MUT speed.

Melvin Ingram recived an 82 SPD for his MUT card.  He ran a horrible 40 at the combine of 4.79.  The fastest unofficial time I could find was 4.72.  His MUT card SPD is flat out inaccurate.  That said, his 3 cone drill and shuttle drill were very good at the combine, which shows good AGI and ACC.  I hope his Madden 13 speed is closer to reality.  EA tends to overrate 1st rounders, keeping his speed at 82 would be a perfect example of that.


Here are my Madden 13 speed projections for Tight Ends (TE):

Coby Fleener was the only incoming rookie TE to receive a MUT card.  Fleener was giving an 88 SPD on his card, I projected a 87 SPD for Madden 13.  That is very close.

If you want to see the projections for the Madden 13 rookie RB's and CB's, you can find them here:

QB and ILB (MLB) speed projections:

WR speed projections:

*** View and vote on all of my Game Changer Ideas here:

Stay tuned for more Madden 13 player rating projections.  Thank you for following my blog.  You can also follow me on twitter @mannmicj

Have a great week.