These Falcons players' 'Madden' ratings are too low

The full player ratings for "Madden NFL 21" were recently released, which means it's time for some quibbling.

"Madden" seeks to create the most realistic game experience and the ratings certainly play into that. The franchise uses ratings adjusters to help fine-tune and adjust player ratings throughout the year, an illustration of just how seriously they take this part of the game.

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Yet sometimes, even when putting in the effort to get it right, the game developers can get it very wrong. Here are the Falcons players whose "Madden" rating is too low.

Julio Jones – rating: 97

One of the most-discussed topics during the "Madden" ratings reveal was the decision to make Saints receiver Michael Thomas the highest-rated receiver in the game and one of the few players to receive a 99 rating – the highest in the game. Thomas did lead the NFL in receiving yards in 2019 while setting a league record with 149 receptions, but Jones is arguably the most physically gifted and well-rounded receiver in the game today. He's still playing at the peak of his powers, something that should be recognized by "Madden."

Calvin Ridley – rating: 83

Ridley has received a lot of hype this offseason and many believe he will have a breakout season in his third year with the Falcons. The thing is, however, Ridley was well on his way towards achieving that in 2019 before an abdominal injury cost him the last three games of the year. He was on pace to gain 1,065 yards with nine touchdowns last season, which would have ranked 21st and third among all receivers, respectively. An 83 is a fine rating, but Ridley shares that rating with Bills receiver Cole Beasley and is one point below Panthers receiver Robby Anderson. That just feels wrong.

Dante Fowler – rating: 81

Speaking of breakout seasons, that's exactly what Fowler enjoyed in 2019. Fowler recorded double digit sacks for the first time in his career, earning 11.5 in his first full season with the Rams. Reputation is an important thing when it comes to defensive ends, which is perhaps why some players like Ndamukong Suh (86) and Jurrell Casey (84) have higher ratings. Those players have also accomplished more in their careers, but if Fowler has another season like he did lasts year, he'll be among their ranks.

Damontae Kazee – rating: 78

It's tough to evaluate Kazee's 2019 season, because he started the year playing the nickel corner role before eventually transitioning back to the free safety role he clearly plays so well. "Madden" has always had a weird thing with Kazee, who had a 79 rating in last year's game after recording a league-high seven interceptions in 2018. Kazee had three interceptions last season despite the position changes, but he remains behind players like Marcus Maye (81) and Jessie Bates (79).

Jake Matthews – rating: 78

This is just an absurd rating. Matthews is rated 26th among all tackles in the game despite being the 13th-rated tackle by Pro Football Focus in 2019, which could be considered a down year for the Falcons veteran. Matthews made his first Pro Bowl in 2018 after one of the best seasons of his career, and he remains one of the better left tackles in the game.

Isaiah Oliver – rating: 71

Based on the first half of Oliver's 2019 season, this would seem like a fair rating. The thing is, Oliver was one of the most improved players down the stretch last year and seemed to genuinely turn a corner. That is something that likely occurred due to the experience he accrued in his first year as a starter, meaning that improvement should be viewed as growth instead of a fluke. This rating does not reflect that.

Russell Gage – rating: 67

Gage is a player whose on-field production so far doesn't indicate the potential he's shown. Entering his third year, Gage figures to have the inside track to become Atlanta's starting slot receiver. He took over the role after the Falcons traded Mohamed Sanu last fall and excelled when given the opportunity.

Younghoe Koo – rating: 67

A two-time NFC Special Teams Player of the Week last year, Koo has the fourth-lowest rating among kickers in the game. There are rookie kickers rated ahead of Koo in the game and multiple teams who have two kickers on their roster rated ahead of Koo. Given the way he performed in his first season for Atlanta, Koo should probably be in the 70s.

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