RG3 Fires Back At Ben Roethlisberger Over Lamar Jackson Comments: ‘Don’t Use That To Tear Him Down’

One comment from Ben Roethlisberger during his latest podcast has gained plenty of national attention. As we wrote yesterday, Roethlisberger discussed Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson’s game, opining that teams don’t fear Jackson from the pocket like they do when he’s on the move. After our Matthew Marczi summarized those comments, the rest of the NFL world caught on. As is the case with anything Jackson-related, there were strong responses, including this one from former QB Robert Griffin III, who shot back at Roethlisberger.

“Teams FEAR Lamar the runner MORE THAN the passer, but don’t use that to tear him down,” his tweet read.

Griffin followed that up by comparing Jackson’s career passer rating and QBR from the pocket with Roethlisberger’s career mark, showing that Jackson has the better numbers.

Of course, those numbers need context. One, they compare the prime of Jackson’s career with Roethlisberger’s entire NFL run, including his decline at the end. More importantly, they don’t take into consideration the fact that passer ratings and QBRs have risen over time as offenses and passing games have become more refined. That’s true of any QB numbers. Completion percentage is the same story. As the years go by, they improve.

For example, in 2004, Roethlisberger’s rookie year, 10 quarterbacks finished the year with a QB rating above 90, including Roethlisberger at 98.1. Compare that to 2022 when 17 quarterbacks did the same. In 2005, only eight QBs had a rating above 90. In 2021, a whopping 19 of them did.

So using those numbers as the end-all lacks context and a perfect comparison. Roethlisberger himself wasn’t a pocket passer for the first half of his career, feared most by defenses for his ability to extend the play and make plays outside the pocket. Over time, he evolved into a pocket passer and a good one at that.

Frankly, the firestorm over Roethlisberger’s comments are over the top. What he said was perhaps a bit oversimplified and lacking nuance, though he wasn’t trying to offer a hyper-analytical critique of Jackson’s game. And there’s an understandable defense of Jackson, who has been dogged by the idea he’s just a running quarterback throughout his career, including when he came out of the draft. All he’s done is become a league MVP and when healthy, a dynamic player.

But Roethlisberger’s core point was Jackson is at his best when he’s using his legs and that’s what teams really worry about. His ability to run for a first down on 3rd and 10, his ability to break sacks, keep the play alive, and turn nothing into something, is the “fear.” Jackson isn’t Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. He’s not incapable of playing from the pocket but his highlight reel consists of ones made outside of it. Here, Roethlisberger isn’t wrong.

But that’s what happens when the Internet takes 18 seconds to examine and judge a clip. At the least, it’s doubtful this “controversy” is bothering Roethlisberger much, who famously doesn’t use social media, though it’s probable he’s at least caught wind of social media’s reaction. Maybe it’s something he’ll address on the next episode of his Footballhin podcast.

Or perhaps he’ll leave it alone, let the story die, and wait for Twitter to latch hold of something else.

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