How could Weeden possibly have a stronger arm than me? That's it, I'm taking my controller and going home!
Today we have an extended weekend edition of the Afternoon Delight. With the introduction of soon-to-be new Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, there's been no shortage of things to talk about coming from training camp. Well, here's another, only with no actual implications on reality. EA Sports released their QB ratings for the upcoming Madden NFL 13 game. There are a handful of interesting things to note, specifically with rookie QB Brandon Weeden.
Weeden comes in at an overall rating of 74, which ranks him a whopping 45th in the game among quarterbacks. Generally, within the context of the game, that's pretty bad. Surprisingly enough, the guy whom the Browns draft him to replace, Colt McCoy, has a full point on Weeden in that category, 75 overall. Taken at first glace, I assume the reaction of many Browns fans will be to assume the ratings are simply inaccurate. Although, upon further inspection you'll see that Weeden is actually rated very favorably in the eyes of the Madden developers.
After overall and speed, the next rating listed is one called "Awareness." Veteran Madden players are likely well aware, no pun intended, of this infamous little rating. Depending on how you look at it, as well as how you play, this rating can mean quite a lot or not much at all. One thing is certain, a player's awareness weighs heavily on his overall rating. So what is this awareness? Put simply, awareness in Madden determines things like reaction times when a player is being controlled by the CPU (artificial intelligence) while in-game or simulating. For a QB, the most affected statistic is completion percentage. But, when said player is in the hands of an actual experienced user, the effects of the awareness rating are minimal or even entirely unnoticeable.
Now back to Weeden. Like most rookies in the Madden, Weeden has a significantly low awareness rating at 56, a staggering 18 points behind McCoy's 74 in that category. Why's this relevant again? As mentioned before, awareness weighs heavily on a quarterbacks overall rating. So if a QB is low in that area, but has a noticeably higher overall, they must be compensating in the other categories important to the quarterback position, which are speed, throw power and accuracy. Weeden has been described as a statue in the pocket, so as suspected, he's rated a very slow 64 in speed. This leaves a lot of room for power and accuracy to make up.
It's important to note that recent iterations of Madden utilize three different zones of throw accuracy, short, mid and deep. Though, this is also averaged into a convenient single rating as well. Weeden comes in at an impressive 93 throw power and 83 throw accuracy. Comparatively, McCoy has only 81 power but the same overall accuracy. The most apparent difference between the two Browns quarterbacks is deep accuracy. Weeden is rated by Madden among the best in the league at 84 to McCoy's 63, which is among the lowest. This is something I would guess that most Browns fans will understand and correlate to what we watched on the field last season, at least from McCoy. To offer more perspective on Weeden's throw accuracy deep, he's up there with the likes of Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Michael Vick, and more.
Does this mean the Madden developers think Weeden in his rookie season is going to be as good as those proven elite quarterbacks? Of course not. They are making projections that account for many things and have to tie-in many others, such as AI and game simulation. These are not easy predictions to make, which is why they are constantly updating them. But, at least one group of people doing research into this thinks Brandon Weeden has the physical tools.
What does all of this mean for real football? Absolutely nothing, at least with regards to these quarterbacks chances on the field. In the virtual Madden NFL 13 world, however, you're success rate with the Cleveland Browns may have possibly jumped quite a bit. If you're not simulating all of your games, you can overcome the awareness hitch for Weeden. His receiving corp I'm not so sure about. The ratings for wide receivers won't be released until August 13-17.