So, we haven't done a Battle Red Bag in a little while, and it will probably be replaced by the Two-Day Hangover (now at Battle Red Blog!) once the regular season starts, so I figured we'd do a couple more before the preseason slips away from us. Besides, it's been FAR too long since this blog referenced Alison Brie. (Rumors that I'm doing this just for filler material on Friday are wholly incorrect, and I don't think I appreciate you suggesting otherwise.)
Anyway ... yeah. Submit questions for Battle Red Bag vol. 12 to email@example.com. You'll make my life easier if you put "Mailbag" or something similar in the subject. Gracias in advance.
Because I have to make this post longer before it will let me publish, after the jump, I will complain about something of minimal consequence.
Looking over the Madden '12 ratings for the Houston Texans, I noticed that Matt Schaub's injury rating was a 78. That seemed low for a guy who hasn't missed any games in two seasons and who only missed time in 2007 and 2008 because of injuries due to cheap shots from turds like Jared Allen and Drayton Florence. So I looked around at the injury ratings for guys who have missed a substantial chunk (at least 4 games) of any of the past four seasons due to injury.
Now, here's that same list with Schaub added in and with the total number of games missed over that time-frame in parentheses along with the number of seasons played in the same.
Matt Schaub: 78 (10 games, 4 seasons)
Matt Stafford: 65 (19 games, 2 seasons)
Alex Smith: 88 (21 games, 4 seasons)
Matt Hasselbeck: 79 (13 games, 4 seasons)
Jake Delhomme: 80 (29 games, 4 seasons)
Tony Romo: 87 (13 games, 4 seasons)
Tom Brady: 89 (15 games, 4 seasons)
David Garrard: 88 (6 games, 4 seasons)
Carson Palmer: 74 (12 games, 4 seasons)
Vince Young: 90 (9 games, 4 seasons)
Colt McCoy: 93 (3 games, 1 season)
David Carr: 90 (8 games, 4 seasons)
OK, so I fudged a bit with McCoy, but I wanted to include him because he also missed most of the NCAA championship game the previous year with an injury, and then he missed three games as a rookie with an injury, so his 93 injury rating just seemed ... weird. As for the rest of the list, though, I'll be damned if I can find rhyme or reason to it, especially Alex Smith's 88 --- he's missed almost all of his games because of a balky shoulder that keeps getting hurt, which is sorta the epitome of injury-prone, yet he's one of the highest-ranked guys on this list.
In fact, speaking of Smith's shoulder, it might be the most chronic malady any of these guys have, yet that doesn't seem to matter, as his rank is nearly identical to Brady's, even though Tawmy only missed time due to a fluke injury. Maybe it's just me, but "I have this body part that gets hurt frequently" should count against a player more than "one time, Bernard Pollard rolled into me, causing a rule change to try to prevent it from happening to anyone again."
Likewise, the injury rating does not seem to have anything to do with whether a QB missed all of the games due to one injury or spread them out over multiple injuries and multiple seasons, as Brady and Palmer both only have one season during this time-frame with missed regular season games, while Romo and Schaub have two seasons (10 and 3 games, respectively for Romo, and 5 in each season for Schaub). Nor does it seem to skew based on how long ago a QB was injured (Young -- 2010; Brady -- 2008; Schaub -- 2007-08; Romo -- 2008-10; Smith -- 2007-08, 2010; Delhomme -- 2007, 2009-10; etc.).
The only thing I can figure is that the injury rating is based on conventional media "wisdom," where Matt Schaub is not only fragile, but the most injury-prone player in the NFL. (Author's note: Seriously, that article is terrible. And he likely got paid to write it. What a country!)
I will grant you that most (all?) of Madden's ratings are based on conventional wisdom. It's not like the game-makers bring in every player and rank all of them to determine route running, strength, speed, acceleration, and the like. I get that. But, the thing is, for almost all of those other categories, the conventional wisdom is backed up by observable realities. You say that Andre Johnson is a 95 in route running? Well, the fact that he's able to get open pretty much anywhere on the field and destroy single coverage supports that. (That 'Dre only scores a 90 in spectacular catch is a traveshamockery of the highest order.) You say that Arian Foster has a 97 in ball carrier vision? I can probably find 50 clips that show him perfectly setting up blocks and making cuts that lesser backs would not. Connor Barwin and Mario Williams are both 84 in speed? Well, if I recall, they ran almost identical 40 times, so I can't complain about that. Zac Diles is a 47 in man coverage? Sounds accurate. But the injury thing, at least in Matt Schaub's case? It's not based on anything that even resembles reality; it simply adopts the common stupidity and passes that off as official by assigning a number to it.
Sure, it's just a video game. Yes, fans of other teams and other players likely have similar gripes. Andre Johnson being only a 97 overall is pretty silly, if you ask me. But there's a difference between just not giving a guy his props when it comes to making spectacular catches and shafting a guy because people are too lazy to ask themselves if conventional wisdom even makes sense. The world ain't flat, it ain't turtles all the way down, and Matt Schaub ain't injury prone.