The Pittsburgh Steelers are now in Latrobe at Saint Vincent College, where they have held their training camp sessions since 1966. While the vast majority of the legwork of building the 90-man roster is done, there is always some fine tinkering to do. Now it’s time to figure out who is worthy of a roster spot, and what their role will be.
The team made some bold moves this offseason and in some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago. That would especially be the case at wide receiver and inside linebacker, where they’re bound to have new starters.
How will those position groups sort themselves out? How will the young players advance into their expected roles? Will the new coaches be up to the task? Who is looking good in practice? Who is sitting out due to injury?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: How much playing time is Devlin Hodges going to get?
Following yesterday’s whimsical notion by Jason La Canfora that the Steelers could be in a position to get something of value in a trade for their current backup quarterback, Joshua Dobbs, I thought it would be interesting, as an experiment, to ponder the implications of what it would take to even get the team to consider that.
The most crucial element in enabling such a trade to take place involves the team feeling comfortable with three quarterbacks who are not Dobbs. Right now, that would necessitate rookie college free agent Devlin Hodges impressing enough to justify being carried on the 53-man roster (they’re going to keep three; in other words, they won’t risk cutting one to try to ‘sneak’ him onto the practice squad).
Other factors are involved as well, of course. Mason Rudolph has to win the backup job from Dobbs. Dobbs has to at least not distance himself enough from Hodges to justify keeping him relative to what they can get for him in a trade; and Dobbs also has to be good enough to get somebody to trade something of value for him.
In order for Hodges to be kept over Dobbs, he needs to get opportunities to justify that. So far through four camp practices, he has only seen about half as much of the work as the other three quarterbacks have gotten, but he has performed reasonably well when given the opportunity.
The bottom line is that, with a heated competition brewing between Dobbs and Rudolph, squeezing in playing time for Hodges during the preseason is going to be a very difficult assignment. That alone is a crucial roadblock in any scenario, fantastical as it might be, that would see their third-year quarterback exchanged for something of value.