Again, I think Earl was better in the areas that experience makes you better, not ability. We're talking about ability here right?
I've never had the positive view on Earl like you've had for the past couple of years. He's nothing special phsyically. He's a smart player, and he's going to minimalize mistakes, but in the end that's playing not to lose instead of to win. What he brings to the table might win you a few (one or two) extra games, if any.
On head to head matchups with other starting PGs, he's more often times on the losing side. When you have a player that has better phsyical tools, and isn't a slouch with decision making, you should fully exercise that option. Not give him a shot, and when he exceeds expectations, put him back on the bench.
This isn't about AJ vs. Earl. This is about how they're being used by JOb.