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Ex-Steelers WR Nate Washington says Titans Zach Mettenberger is better than Ben was his rookie year

Ex-Steelers WR Nate Washington is just the latest of many receivers who have left Pittsburgh and have compared their current signal caller to Ben Roethlisberger. In this case, it's the comparison with rookie Zach Mettenberger.

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

It seems the going trend these days is for Ben Roethlisberger's former teammates to speak to the media comparing their current quarterback to the one that still wins games for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

First it was Mike Wallace comparing Roethlisberger to Ryan Tannehill, then Emmanuel Sanders talking about Roethlisberger's work ethic and how it shies in comparison to Peyton Manning in Denver.

Now, it is Nate Washington comparing rookie Tennessee Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger to Roethlisberger.

"It was '05, and it was his second season and they had just come off a (15-1) season, and it was beneficial to him. The coaching staff at that time had done an outstanding job of working him in," Washington told Terry McCormick of "I will comment and say that I don't think Ben coming in is the same as Zach Mettenberger. At this stage he's at now, I think Zach understands the NFL a little more than maybe Ben did at that time, but the thing that Ben had at that time that was maybe a little more beneficial was he had an outstanding running game."

"He had that run game and everything that he had to do was built off our run game, whether it was play action, or whatever else it was, it gave Ben an opportunity to go out and be adjustable to whatever the game was, whereas Zach we're kind of throwing him out there and saying, 'We know you're capable of showing your arm and your ability.' That's the leeway I think they're kind of giving him."

It is difficult to see this as nothing more than Washington pumping up his young rookie quarterback, but it is just as difficult to draw any comparisons between Mettenberger who is coming off his first career start to even the entire rookie season of Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger has won 100 of his first 150 games, and he won many of those games without the benefit of a stout running game, but as the list of former teammates that slight their former quarterback, who was a large part of their current contract status, grows yearly you can now add Washington's name to the list.

Mettenberger will get his chance to have a face-to-face comparison with Roethlisberger as the Steelers face the Titans on Monday Night Football in Nashville in Week 11.