I started off the discussion of the upcoming Madden NFL 11 video game several weeks back, and yesterday ESPN published a complete list of all of the ratings for the individual Packers players. Some make a lot of sense, while others...well, others left me scratching my head.
As for things that make sense to me: Aaron Rodgers earns a 94 overall, Charles Woodson is a 97, Nick Collins is a 93, and Greg Jennings clocks in at 90. Ryan Grant is a solid but not spectacular 88, Jermichael Finley clocks in with an 86, Nick Barnett and Clay Matthews lead the linebackers with 87 and 86 ratings respectively, and Cullen Jenkins appears as the best D-lineman at 87 overall.
As for some confusing things, let's start with the secondary. Chuck, as I mentioned earlier earns a 97 rating, and Al Harris received an 85. I think those are right on, though maybe a bit generous for Harris. What boggles my mind is that Tramon Williams, who many of us regard as a potential replacement for Harris as soon as this year, only got a 75 overall rating. Awareness stats make up most of the reason that Williams is rated that low, which I can understand to a point, but I think his physical attributes, which are superior to the aging Harris, should at least bring him closer to #31 overall.
The next puzzling area for me is the offensive line. Brandon examined its performance in 09, with the conclusion that Josh Sitton was the best OL on the team in 09 and a significantly above-average starter at right guard. In light of that, why does he only earn a 78 overall rating (the same as rookie Bryan Bulaga) while aging tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher, who didn't perform nearly as well as Sitton, are in the low- to mid-80s? I also think Scott Wells got a bit of a low grade. He's not spectacular by any means, and I think most of us would agree that Jason Spitz is a better lineman, but he's a solid starter and performed slightly above-average last season. Ultimately it appears that EA Sports is expecting a starting O-line of Clifton, Spitz, Wells, Sitton, and Tauscher, which is what we expected as well. It just seems to me that they didn't identify the stronger players on the line correctly.
One curious addition this year to the ratings is the new "Swagger" rating (brought to you shamelessly by Old Spice). However, it will have no bearing on actual game play, only the likelihood of a celebration or other such silly antics. Jermichael Finley leads the Packers in foolishness with an 88, while Ryan Pickett leads all non-punters in professionalism with a 35. Not surprisingly, players with notably high swagger ratings include Chad Ochocinco (99), Adrian Peterson (98), Brandon Marshall (98), Philip Rivers (98), Chris Johnson (97), Andre Johnson (97), and everyone's favorite showboating DE, Jared Allen (96).
As a last note, Nick Barnett chimed in on his ratings, tweeting this morning that he wasn't happy with his speed rating of 77. He apparently was also driven to have a good workout today, thanks to his strength rating of 76.