Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Eagles defense flying low in Madden

By JJ Miller

Those wanting to take the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl in the upcoming Madden NFL 15 game had better be prepared to win some shootouts.

After having a pair of players place in the top 5 of their respective positions on the offensive side of things -- running back LeSean McCoy and offensive lineman Evan Mathis -- the Eagles saw none of their defenders show up on EA's recently-released lists.

That isn't a huge surprise, but what may ruffle some Eagles fans' feathers are a pair of safeties that did.

Both free safety Jairus Byrd and strong safety TJ Ward were available as free agents this past summer and Philadelphia opted to pass on both. Interestingly enough, Byrd, who signed with New Orleans, ranks as Madden's top-rated player at FS with a 96 rating while Ward is third at the SS position with a 91 rating.

Said Madding Ratings Czar Donny Moore on the official EA Sports website, easports.com, of Byrd, "Byrd is the top-rated player in Madden in terms of Zone Coverage (99). His 81 Catching (best among FS) and 90 Play Rec make him the ultimate ballhawk in Madden NFL 15."

Of Ward, who signed with Denver, Moore noted "New to the Broncos, TJ Ward adds some hard-nosed football to the Denver secondary. With impressive 92 Hit Power, 88 Tackle and 86 Speed, Ward hits the hole and shuts down the opponent's run game. Despite his run stopping mentality, his Coverage and Pursuit ratings aren't too shabby at 84 and 86 respectively."

Sounds like two players that Eagles fans wouldn't have minded controlling on their TV this upcoming season.
EA also released on its website a full spreadsheet download of all the player's rankings (http://vassets.ea.com/Assets/Resources/File/madden-15-ratings-afc-nfc-west.xlsx) and outside linebacker Trent Cole came in as the top-rated Eagles defender at 89. He slots in overall behind Mathis, McCoy and Justin Peters (93 overall).

Quarterback Nick Foles was given an 88 overall, just ahead of three players ranked at 87 overall: punter Donnie Jones, center Jason Kelce and running back Darren Sproles.

One safety the Eagles did add, Malcolm Jenkins, has a 77 overall rating. Rookie wideout Jordan Matthews has a 73 rating.

Other NFL defenders of note include Houston defensive end J.J. Watt and Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, both of whom received 99 ratings.

Also, current New York Jet defensive end and Temple product Muhammad Wilkerson was the fifth-highest rank player at his position at 93.

Madden NFL 15 is set to be released for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 4 and Playstation 3 on Aug. 26. You can preorder the game here: http://www.easports.com/madden-nfl/buy/US
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