Lamar vs Kenny, who would you rather have today?

I, like many have been perplexed by Lamar Jackson’s contract demands where he wants at least the $230 million guaranteed money that Deshaun Watson got from the Browns. I certainly don’t blame him for initially asking, but I don’t see why any reasonable team would pay that much for his services. I keep hearing from the the pro-Lamar side that he’s a proven league MVP. I look at the numbers and say that he WAS a league MVP and that his MVP status has actually been DISPROVEN.

Check out Lamar vs AFC North (easy apples to apples comparison of opponents). In 2020 he played 5 games against the division and totaled 13TDs(11 pass, 2 rush) and 6 Turnovers (4INTs, 2 lost fumbles) while taking 11 sacks. In 2021 and 2022 he combined for 5 games against the division. He totaled 4TDs, 6 Turnovers, 21 sacks. His rushing totals were virtually identical 334 yards in the 5 games of 2020, 328 yards in the 5 games over 2021-2022. He’s not who he used to be.

Kenny Pickett is a QB we are all familiar with. Even his biggest supporters are wanting to see huge improvements in his game. I tried to get an apples to apples comparison of their most recent play. It’s so close statistically that it’s scary.

Lamar had an MVP start to 2022. Then after 3 games the rest of the season happened. After those 3 games he completed 8 games (the 1st of those against Super Bowl contender Buffalo) and started 1 other before getting injured very early.

Kenny Picket had a typical rookie QB start to his 2022, throwing 2 TDs vs 7 INTs in 3&1/2 games. Then the rest of his season happened. He then also completed 8 games (the 1st of which was also against a Super Bowl contender, Philadelphia) and also started 1 other game but left early with an injury.

So let’s compare some stats from those last 8 full games each QB played.

Lamar would throw for 7TDs/5INTs (passer rating 80) with 1 rushing TD while his team scored an average of 22.0 points per game.

Kenny would throw for 5TDs/2INTs (passer rating 81)with 1 rushing TD while his team scored an average of 20.4 points per game. Pickett’s kickers missed 3 more FGs than Lamar’s in those 8 games. Adjusting for that kicking difference the points per game gap closes to 0.5

The Kenny detractors will point out that the Steelers had a very easy schedule in the second half and that any statistical improvements should be thrown out with last weeks fish. That has some merit, but let’s compare who both QBs faced in this 8 game sample. Each faced the Bengals, Browns, and 2 teams from the putrid NFC South. Each faced a SB contender and a wild card team (Lamar had Bills and Giants; Kenny had Eagles and Ravens). That leaves 2 other games for each. Lamar got the division winning Jaguars and an extra putrid NFC South team (combined 16 wins). Kenny got the Raiders and Colts (combined 10.5 wins). Going by records the Raiders and the NFC south team are a wash. They more or less played the exact same level of competition except Lamar played the Jaguars while Kenny played the Colts.

The stats are almost identical in their last half season of work. Their schedules are pretty darn close over that half season of work. One of them has 5 years of experience and certified MVP talent and the other is a rookie who never took first team practice reps until kids had already chosen their Halloween costumes. Shouldn’t we be blown away by Lamar’s stats and points scored if they basically played the same schedule? Or maybe he’s not as good as he used to be.

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