It’s Madden 23 week and as the popular video game franchise slowly leaks its player ratings for the upcoming season, NFL athletes have begun to take notice.
The Kansas City Chiefs generally do pretty well in the ratings department considering their recent run of success, but one starter wasn’t so happy when he saw his marks. Madden 23 gave linebacker Willie Gay Jr. a 69 overall rating and the recent second-round selection let them hear all about it on Twitter.
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Willie Wants Out!
After another disappointing rating from the video game franchise, Gay is content with the creators leaving him out next season. “@EAMaddenNFL just take me off the game,” he joked after seeing a screenshot that a fan sent him.
Gay was tied with rookie linebacker Leo Chenal in the photo, as well as edge rusher Mike Danna. No offense to either of those Chiefs players but they’re both considered depth as we head toward training camp. As a guaranteed starter and important piece of this defense, Gay has a right to be upset.
Then the linebacker decided to go one step further, commenting underneath that “people [are] in the wrong position” in the game. For emphasis, Gay added that the Madden creators should “learn y’all s***.”
He’s not wrong, ROLB generally represents the strongside backer in a 4-3, while Gay plays weak-side LB on the left. Madden has held a stranglehold over the NFL gaming experience for a long time but maybe some competition would help strengthen the product.
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Proof Is in the Pudding
While most fans would agree that Gay’s rating should be over 70 — at the very least — he does have to prove himself in 2022.
The youngster has 87 total tackles over two campaigns with five absences a season ago.
Pro Football Focus has not been too kind to Gay either, grading him at a 55.7 last year. He earned a 68.1 as a rookie and his marks regressed in areas like run defense, tackling and coverage. The only area his grade increased was as a pass rusher, accumulating seven quarterback pressures and a half-sack.
Diving deeper, Gay’s stop percentage against the run isn’t bad but it’s almost 50% worse than Nick Bolton’s as a rookie (12.0% compared to 6.6%). The same could be said about his 10.8% missed tackle percentage.
The coverage grade is a little trickier to pinpoint from PFF. Sure, Gay allowed an 82.1 reception rate but he also had an impressive NFL passer rating against of 74.9. Not including defensive linemen, that ranked first on the entire Chiefs roster.
Rounding out his analytics, Gay was targeted 6.8 times per pass coverage snap — which was average for KC — and was credited with one forced incompletion, one pass breakup and two interceptions.
In terms of the Gay versus Madden debate, they both seem to be a little off. Although the Chiefs linebacker never said how good his rating should be, one can assume he feels it should be significantly higher.
A 69 overall is definitely too low for a starting player of his talent level but a significant increase may be pushing it, given his numbers. Somewhere in the mid-to-low 70s is probably a more fair assessment but a consistent year three can change all that for Gay as he attempts to realize his true potential.