For whatever reason, one of the questions that keeps coming up whenever a reporter has the chance to ask a question about Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges is about what limitations him being on the field is going to be placed on the offense, and what responsibilities he is going to have.
As the Samford product prepares to likely make his first NFL start (and perhaps the only one, at least for a while), however, offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner is reminding once again how and why the Steelers build their quarterback room the way they do.
They carry quarterbacks who can run their offense, and who they trust are fully capable of running the offense. There might be a minor adjustment here and there, but overall, Fichtner is going to be making calls from the same playbook they’ve used all year.
“I always try to coach them all as best possible like they’re the next guy”, Fichtner, who is also the team’s quarterbacks coach, told reporters yesterday, via a transcript provided by the team’s media department. “They’re responsible for everything that Ben [Roethlisberger] was responsible for or Mason [Rudolph] was responsible for”.
Even though he’s a rookie, that doesn’t change with Hodges in the lineup. It wouldn’t change with Paxton Lynch under center, either. “That’s just the truth”, Fichtner said. “We don’t have separate meetings. I don’t say, ‘Ben, come and meet with me and then the other guys will just catch up’. That’s not the case. So, they’re in there all the time”.
It’s unusual for us to be having this conversation twice in the same season, discussion the nuances in variation that come when replacing a quarterback with another, but what it really comes down to is that everybody has their preferences with what specific plays they’re more comfortable with.
They’re still choosing from the same menu. They just have items on the menu that they’re partial to. Hodges, for example, they may be more comfortable letting throw down the field more consistently. Will that be the case? We’ll have to see on Sunday.
On his young quarterback, Fichtner offered, “from the minute he got here, you like the personality. You love his savvy as a QB. You like the way he gets the ball out of his hands”. He admitted that they are still learning about Hodges, who has barely gotten any opportunities to work with starting personnel before he checked into Sunday’s game, but that’s what this week of preparation is for.