A.J. Brown is tired of comparisons to CeeDee Lamb.
In a series of since-deleted tweets, the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver asked everyone to stop pitting him against the Dallas Cowboys wideout because "he plays slot and I play outside and inside." Instead, Brown suggested Lamb should be compared to pass-catchers who line up similarly, such as Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp. "It's not the same," Brown added.
In another tweet, Brown clarified he wasn't "taking a shot" at Lamb "because he is cold and you'll know I don't care about the rivalry either."
— Philly Talk Podcast (@Philly_Mike25) May 4, 2023
On raw numbers alone, Brown and Lamb did post similar stats. Brown finished with 137 more receiving yards and two more receiving touchdowns, while Lamb caught 19 more receptions. But Brown is right that the two play very different versions of the same position.
Lamb ran the fifth-most routes out of the slot among pass-catchers in 2022; he was targeted there 92 times and caught 71 receptions, per Pro Football Focus. Lamb's targets and receptions ranked third overall out of the slot. Brown, meanwhile, ran the 67th-most slot routes, was targeted just 20 times (tied for 100th) and caught only 12 balls (tied for 110th). That means that 60% of Lamb's targets and 66% of his receptions came from the slot, while only 13% of Brown's targets and receptions were out of the slot.
The key difference between slot receivers and those who play elsewhere on the field is the defensive matchups they face. Slot receivers see more nickel cornerbacks, linebackers and safeties — positions that are more exploitable depending on the physicality of the receiver relative to his opponent. However, receivers who play inside and outside line up against mostly cornerbacks, who can match receivers in length, physicality and speed.
This is likely why Brown doesn't want to be compared to Lamb — their styles of play are different and, therefore, not as similar as pure pass-catching stats would suggest. It's not a dig on Lamb that he and Brown aren't the same receiver. They're both productive pass-catchers who play their position differently.