Recently, EA Sports unveiled more details on a feature they were adding to Madden 12 known as Dynamic Player Ratings, which you can read a simplified explanation of here and on other sites. Basically, what it means is that the player ratings aren't the only thing that determines how the AI uses a certain player in Madden now. Going by some of these ratings, players will become more likely to drop passes when they are wide open on the play (Braylon Edwards), fight for yardage or go out of bounds, scramble when they have room to run (think of how Vick when controlled by the AI will stand still in the pocket when the other team is rushing three and dropping eight), or the ability of a QB to sense pressure and if they will force passes. So, lets look at some of these ratings and discuss how some former and current Cardinals should be rated in the comments section.
Here is the list from the link I posted, with some of the text cut out of the longer areas to make it easier to read though.
These are also the overarching elements that impact every single player on the field no matter what.
This trait is impacted after each game, and it will define what direction a player's ratings will be going in after a game. Confidence is basically all about what a player's expectations are going into each game.
Essentially, think of a player's expectations in terms of fantasy stats or being entirely results-based.
This trait defines how much a player's ratings are impacted by the confidence level. You have heard about consistency levels of players previously, so this is more just to reiterate that Jay Cutler is different from Tom Brady.
So when Cutler has a bad week and does not meet his expectations, his confidence level dips, and therefore his ratings going into the next game are down by 5-10 points because his consistency level is erratic. At the same time, Brady may have a bad game but because his consistency level is not as erratic, his confidence level may still be down, but it will only push his ratings down a point or two. Again, this is why the developers have said you will want to build your team around more consistent players.
All right, so this element has not been mentioned as much, but again, this is something that you either have or you don't. According to EA, less than 30 players will have this "clutch" trait on the rosters that ship with the game.
Now, while this element is clearly different than consistency and confidence, I'm placing it in this section because it's not something you just unlock during a game. Again, you either have it or you don't going into a game.
During big moments in a game, the clutch rating will boost specific ratings of players. These boosted ratings vary depending on the position of the player with a "clutch" rating. So a wide receiver might get boosted catching ability while a QB gets improved accuracy.
(Note: In another story about this feature, either on EA's website or ESPN, Larry Fitzgerald was one of the guys who has the Clutch rating)In-Game Dynamics
All right, so hopefully I have made it clear how the overarching elements at work here affect things before and after a game. Now it's time to talk more about what's at work here during a game. Once again, remember that there's a church and state separation when it comes to things in the "in-game dynamics" category and "overarching elements" category.
I will talk about these in-game traits/tendencies that can change during a game by breaking them down by position. These traits will change based on what's happening (positive or negative) during each game.
Also, it's important to remember some of these traits really just affect AI players. You control the fate of the player you control, so you overrule certain traits like "big hitter" while using a defender.
This position has the most varied traits and tendencies. Below are the traits and levels that each trait can go through. I will also include an example of each.
Tucks and Runs
Rarely (won't scramble for yards even when under pressure) - Peyton Manning, Tom Brady
Sometimes (will scramble at times when under pressure and there's an opening) - Aaron Rodgers, Big Ben
Often (likely to take off if there's an opening and he's under pressure) - Michael Vick, Vince Young
Paranoid (will get rid of ball even when not under pressure, simply scared of taking sacks) - rookie Mark Sanchez (NOTE: Alex Smith was also listed under this rating on EA's site)
Trigger Happy (still a bit scared, but pressure will need to be closer before releasing the ball) - Jimmy Clausen
Ideal (this porridge is just right) - Tom Brady, Peyton Manning
Average (holds on to the ball and doesn't immediately recognize pressure) - Jay Cutler
Oblivious (holds on to the ball until last second and takes more sacks than other guys because he refuses to let go of the ball) - Big Ben
Conservative (QBs won't try passes to partially covered receivers. These guys would rather check down or throw short passes, and they will even check down when just sensing first signs of pressure.) - Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Matt Cassel
Ideal (These guys know when to go down the field or just check down. This is the default passing behavior.) - Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady
Aggressive (These guys will try to force the ball into full-on coverage at times.) - Jay Cutler
Throws Ball Away
Yes/No - This is a simple flip of the switch. Some guys throw the ball away (Brady, Manning) and others avoid it (Rodgers, Cutler, Big Ben).
Throws Tight Spiral
Yes/No - Another flip of the switch. Non-QBs are set to "no" and so are average quarterbacks. Elite quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers are set to "yes" for this trait.
Fights for Extra Yards
Yes/No - Most running backs will fall into this category while most receivers and quarterbacks will not.
Covers the Ball
Yes/No - Again, this one is a self-explanatory flip of the switch.
Makes Sideline Catches
Yes/No - Increases the chances of sideline drops occurring. Most receivers/tight ends would fall into the "yes" category while running backs would fall into the "no" category.
Drops Open Passes
Yes/No - Increases chances that a receiver might drop a pass when a defender is not within two yards of the player.
Yes/No - So I'm putting high motor under O-line because offensive linemen don't have any unique traits, but high motor is a trait every single player has in the game. Think of it as the "clutch" trait of the "in-game dynamics" because it's sort of the exception to the rule that fits in either space.
It impacts every position in a different way. One example to use deals more with defensive linemen. Defensive linemen with no motor will stay on the ground after getting knocked down (see: Albert Haynesworth) but defensive linemen with a motor will get back up and keep trying to pursue the QB.
Utilizes Swim Move
Yes/No - Self-explanatory
Utilizes Bull Rush
Yes/No - Self-explanatory
Utilizes Spin Move
Yes/No - Self-explanatory
(Note: These traits also apply to linebackers below)
Yes/No - Increases chances player will attempt a Hit Stick.
(Note: This trait applies to all defensive players)
Plays Ball in the Air
Conservative - The defender will try to get in position to make a hit immediately after the catch, which will potentially knock the ball away or at least limit YAC.
Balanced - A player will track towards where the ball is heading and decide what to do once there.
Aggressive - These guys are "ball hawks" and will try for picks and swats.Special Teams
(Note: This trait also applies to linebackers.)
There is actually nothing specific here for kickers or punters, just know that a couple kickers fall into the clutch category.
So, how would you rate some current and former Cardinals based on this list? For example, in the forces passes section, Matt Leinart would be Conservative, Kurt Warner would be under Ideal, and Derek Anderson would be under Aggressive.