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The Caw: Ravens Players React To Madden 15 Ratings

Posted Aug 5, 2014

Steve Smith isn’t happy with his route-running score, but isn’t surprised he’s considered the toughest.

The Madden 15 ratings are out and they created a bit of a buzz in the Ravens locker room after Monday’s practice at Navy.

Few topics get players more fired up than what their virtual selves are rated.

But nobody had a better reaction than wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. (surprise, surprise).

Smith received the highest possible score for toughness (99). That was no surprise to him.

It was his route-running rating that really cheesed him. Smith got an 85.

“[I should get] at least 89,” he said. “Supposedly when you get older you get slower and better technique.”

That was just the beginning.

“I haven’t really played Madden [as an adult]," Smith said. "I’m going to get my game and put it next to the other ones that I haven’t opened up. This is when I stopped playing it: when we were allowed to vote for Peyton Hillis, the running back. When they put him on the cover, I was done with them. Where’s Peyton Hillis at right now?” 

Ouch.

Hillis, for the record, is still a running back for the New York Giants. He hasn’t been nearly the same player, however, since his breakout year in 2011, so point taken. The ratings – and cover boy – aren’t that scientific.

Two players with the most to gripe about are Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda and punter Sam Koch.

Yanda got an 86 in toughness, which is just a joke. No offense to Smith (because the last thing I want to do is offend that guy), but Yanda is the toughest player on the team. No doubt about it.

Madden, however, thinks rookie quarterback Keith Wenning is tougher than Yanda. The game’s creators think there are 25 players on the Ravens roster that are tougher. In reality, there aren’t 25 tougher players in the entire NFL – maybe the world.

I asked Yanda for his take on this injustice and he muttered something about not giving a rat’s behind. That was expected, so I also went to fellow guard Kelechi Osemele for his take.

“Obviously that’s inaccurate,” Osemele said. “The guy broke his leg and came back a week later and played against the Steelers. That was before my time, but it’s legendary around these parts. He’s the only guy I know that can separate his shoulder and play at a Pro Bowl level.”

There’s also the time in 2007 when Yanda was a rookie and was tasered three times to win a $600 pot (and a lot of respect) from his teammates. Yanda didn’t even go down on one knee.

“I’m really not surprised by that at all,” Osemele said. “He’s country strong. What do you expect?”

The other guy that got shafted was punter Sam Koch. If I were going to take one guy on the team to play a round robin of sports (let’s say football, baseball, basketball, golf and hockey), I’d definitely pick Koch. He’s just one of those guys that’s good at everything.

Madden, however, gave Koch the lowest acceleration rating on the entire team (65). Koch also got one of the lowest pure speed ratings at a 58.

What’s kind of funny about this is how much of a difference the creators see between Koch and his long-snapper long snapper, Morgan Cox. They view Cox as a burner. Cox has a 73 in speed and 74 in acceleration – blowing Koch away.

“I feel like that’s fitting. That’s about right,” Cox said with a grin.

“Fitting? Have you seen this guy run down the field? I beat him down the field just jogging half the time,” Koch said with perhaps the most enthusiasm I’ve ever seen from him. “I ran down Trindon Holliday – almost, I’ll say – and I get a 53?”

“I open it up. What can I say? I’m an unstoppable force right now,” Cox retorted. “All you gotta to do is watch one rep where I’m running down the field and you’ll see. It’s unadulterated speed.”

Also of note is defensive tackle Brandon Williams, who makes even Mr. T’s arms look like fishing poles, is only the ninth-strongest player on the team. Cody is rated as the strongest at 97.

“Do you see this?” Williams said, flexing. “I know you saw the YouTube videos, the handstands, the bench press videos? I got this. I’m No. 1! Haloti [Ngata] may have me, but I think I’ve got him.”

Kicker Jusitn Tucker has the highest overall ranking on the team with a 93. Yet even that’s not good enough for him.

“I guess that’s pretty cool,” Tucker said.

“What’s my speed rating? Last year they had me in the upper 60s. I feel like I got a chance to show off the wheels a couple times, unfortunately. Usually it’s not a good thing. I should be in the mid-70s now.”

Yup, not even the top-rated player can be happy.

“The Madden rankings are fun and stuff, but really everybody just wants to know what their speed was,” Tucker said.

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