The Pittsburgh Steelers in all likelihood have the three quarterbacks who will enter the regular season on their roster already in place and predetermined. It figures to be the same group as last year, headed by Ben Roethlisberger and accompanied by the two young, recent draft picks in Joshua Dobbs and Mason Rudolph as they compete to secure the backup job.
Lurking in the shadows, though, is rookie college free agent Devlin Hodges, the Samford product who was a very prolific performer at the college level, setting an FCS record with 14,584 passing yards over his four-year career. He also threw 111 touchdowns.
Now he’s in training camp with the Steelers and trying to make the most of every rep. While most observers have acknowledged that he is ‘better than the usual camp arm’, there are those who are also interested in seeing him make a serious push to make the roster.
The chances of that remain slim, but Head Coach Mike Tomlin earlier tonight commented on his performance while promising more playing time for the rookie. “I like some of the things I’ve seen from him”, he said. “He’ll continue to get more opportunities. Obviously the in-stadium play at that position is significant”.
Obviously Roethlisberger getting half days and off days provides all the quarterbacks with additional reps that they otherwise would not get, but so far, Hodges has been getting only about half the snaps of Dobbs and Rudolph, which makes it difficult both to grow and to get noticed.
Historically, the fourth quarterback in training camp hasn’t gotten many opportunities in-game during the preseason for the Steelers most of the time, especially when the backup quarterbacks themselves are younger, so Hodges seeing a significant number of snaps would be a deviation.
Last year, Landry Jones ended up being the fourth quarterback. He played all of 24 snaps, seeing time in two games. The year before that, Bart Houston saw 40 snaps, all in the first two preseason games. Brynn Renner played 43 snaps in 2016, but that was because Bruce Gradkowski suffered an injury and was limited to just 10. We can continue to work our way backwards with Brendan Kay’s 22 snaps, 13 for John Parker Wilson, etc.
Suffice it to say that Hodges is facing an uphill battle just to get that in-stadium work, and it might require one of the two quarterbacks ahead of him showing some signs of struggling to open the door for him. He himself, of course, will have to show something in practice that they want to see more, and if it can translate onto the field.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 3, 2019