Thursday, July 1, 2010

Breaking down the Dolphins' ratings in Madden NFL 11

EA Sports' next offering of their most popular franchise will be out shortly, as Madden NFL 11 is slated for a North America release on Aug. 10.

Player ratings have trickled out to the media leading up to the game's release, and full player ratings for the Miami Dolphins' roster in the game are now available.

You can view the full ratings here. The following are my comments on what EA Sports got right in their ratings of the Dolphins' players, as well as what they missed.

  • I feel Chad Henne's overall rating is a bit low at 79, but I can understand the rating given his lack of experience and true productivity to this point. He has the age, arm strength and awareness to grow in the game, but he has a lot of potential and I think he should be rated a bit higher at this point. Henne had a much better year than the Jets' Mark Sanchez (12 TDs, 20 INTs, 63.0 QB rating) who is rated an 82 overall.
  • Tyler Thigpen (64) being rated lower than Pat White (66) is a complete joke. Thigpen has pretty decent potential and is at least a quality backup, while White has yet to prove he's good enough to even play in this league.

Running Back / Fullback
  • Ronnie Brown (91) and Ricky Williams (89) are rated about right, and I'm glad to see Brown getting some respect despite his lack of production due to injury lately. Talent-wise, he's rated right where he should be.
  • The absence of Patrick Cobbs is quite perplexing, and it's obviously because he spent last year on injured reserve. Cobbs is a Sparano favorite and will have a much more significant role than either Lex Hilliard (66) or Kory Sheets (65).
  • It's nice to see Lousaka Polite get some love, as his 91 rating puts him as the second best fullback in the game. Polite played like a Pro Bowler all-around last year and is getting the respect he deserves.

Wide Receiver / Tight End
  • Brandon Marshall (96) is rated as one of the best receivers in the game and will be a huge weapon for people that play as the Dolphins. He's appropriately rated with so-so speed (88) but great strength and hands for a receiver.
  • The Dolphins 2-4 receivers are completely out of order, as Brian Hartline (71) stretches the field better than any of them and Greg Camarillo (73) easily has the most reliable hands. Davone Bess (74) should be the lowest of the three.
  • Anthony Fasano (79) is appropriately rated as an average, slow, good-blocking tight end.

Offensive Line
  • Jake Long is appropriately rated at 96 overall, although it's a travesty that the Broncos' Ryan Clady (eight sacks allowed in 2009) is the top tackle in the game at 98, while Cleveland's Joe Thomas is just a 95.
  • Joe Berger (74) might be a bit underrated given how well he played last season, while Donald Thomas (75) is extremely overrated for a player that hasn't done anything in two years. Third-rounder John Jerry (65) should be higher and Thomas lower, as Jerry has a ton of upside and is a favorite to start.

Defensive Line
  • Randy Starks (89) is a bit underrated given how he played last year, although his rating is respectable given that he's moving to a new position in nose tackle in 2010. Kendall Langford should at least be in the low 80s after two very good seasons as a 3-4 end.
  • Jared Odrick is a bit underrated as well for a first-round pick and should at least be in the mid-80s. He should be closer in rating to Phillip Merling (75) as he'll probably end up with more playing time than Merling this season.

  • Karlos Dansby is rated about right at 90 overall, although I'd lower Channing Crowder (79) after the poor 2009 season he had and raise Tim Dobbins (65) a bit.
  • The Dolphins' outside linebacker situation is understandably a mess, as there isn't a proven starter in the bunch. Koa Misi (67) could be rated a little higher as a second-round pick, and I'd put Charlie Anderson (65) in the low 70s as well. I can understand the reasoning behind Cameron Wake (76) as the highest rated outside linebacker due to his pass-rushing productivity in limited duty as a rookie, but his rating is misleading as he's certainly not the top full-time option on the team at outside linebacker.
  • Quentin Moses isn't all that productive on defense, but being the worst-rated player on the team is a bit too harsh.
Cornerback / Safety
  • The folks at EA have apparently lowered Will Allen's rating after an injured season in 2010, as 81 overall is a bit low for one of the better cover corners in the NFL.
  • I think Vontae Davis (82) and Sean Smith (79) are both appropriately rated at this point in their careers, and both have room to progress in franchise mode.
  • Yeremiah Bell (82) is about where he should be as a hard-hitting strong safety, but Tyrone Culver (66) is a bit underrated as a quality dime back the past few seasons.
  • Although Culver should be rated higher than either Chris Clemons or Reshad Jones, Culver should switch positions with Clemons. Culver is currently backing up Bell at strong safety, while Clemons appears to be the favorite to start at free safety.

Special Teams
  • Kicker Dan Carpenter (82) is appropriately rated as an accurate kicker with solid leg strength.
  • Punter Brandon Fields gets screwed big time at just a 67 overall. Fields has a booming leg and is coming of a career year in which he ranked seventh in the NFL in punting average, 10th in net average, and 12th in punts downed inside the 20.

Five Most Overrated
  1. QB Pat White (66) — White still hasn't a completed a pass in the NFL, hasn't shown much as a ball carrier, and got knocked out by a cornerback. He doesn't look like a pro quarterback, and I'd put him at a 55 overall.
  2. OG Donald Thomas (75) — Thomas is rated like a starter, but he hasn't ever played like one. He's battling for a roster spot this year, and I'd say he's no better than a 68 overall at this point.
  3. OLB Cameron Wake (76) — Wake showed some skills as a pass rusher last year, but he hasn't proven he can be an every-down player. He shouldn't be this much higher than the Dolphins' two starting outside linebackers, so I'd say a 71 overall would be appropriate.
  4. ILB Channing Crowder (79) — Crowder is coming off an injury-plagued, career-worst year. He can tackle but not much else, so I'd drop him to a 75 overall.
  5. WR Davone Bess (74) — Bess dropped quite a few passes in 2009 and doesn't stretch the field at all. He doesn't do anything better than Camarillo or Bess and should be rated at a 71 overall.

Five Most Underrated
  1. P Brandon Fields (67) — Field was a top-10 punter in the NFL and is drastically underrated. A rating around 85 overall would be much more fitting.
  2. OLB Quentin Moses (55) — I'm not really a big Quentin Moses fan, but a top backup with a handful of years experience shouldn't be rated this low. I'd put him around a 64 overall, while of course improving Anderson and Misi as well.
  3. OG John Jerry (65) — Jerry is a mauler and I'm betting he'll win a starting guard job as a rookie. A rating of 73 overall would be a good start.
  4. QB Tyler Thigpen (64) — Thigpen was pretty solid as the Chiefs' starter in 2008 and has a good combination of passing and running skills. Some teams view him as a potential starting project, so a rating around 71 would be better.
  5. DE Kendall Langford (79 - 84) — Langford has been a highly productive 3-4 defensive end during his first two seasons in the NFL, and should be rated a bit higher. Something around 84 would be about right.

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