The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, in which they entered with big aspirations, in spite of a tumultuous start to the offseason. Significant players were lost via trade and free agency, players who have helped shape the course of the franchise in recent years. We even now sit here without Ben Roethlisberger after just two games.
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 have new starters. And quarterback was suddenly added to that list.
How will the season progress without Roethlisberger, behind Mason Rudolph, and now Devlin Hodges? How will the young players advance into their expected roles? Will the new coaches be up to the task? Who is looking good in games? 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: Can Devlin Hodges rebound on his third chance against the Baltimore Ravens’ B-team?
It’s not often you get chances the way Devlin Hodges has this year, in light of where he came from. An undrafted rookie out of Samford, who went unsigned after the draft, he has started five games this season, played in seven, and is about to start the Steelers’ season finale, which will go a long way toward determining if they will have another game to play.
He didn’t even make the 53-man roster. Nor was he signed to the practice squad, at least not until after Week One when the team found a trading partner for Joshua Dobbs. Then Ben Roethlisberger’s injury necessitated his promotion, and suddenly he was one snap away from playing.
That one snap has now come, not one, not twice, but three times, twice due to injury, and once due to performance. Not that the Steelers have anybody else to turn to at this point, but Hodges understands the opportunities he’s been given.
That’s not to say this is his ‘last shot’ or anything like that. The team understands he’s a rookie and all that. But this isn’t a game about development. This is about the 2019 season. Win, and you have a chance to get to the postseason, which is the lowest-rung goal for the Steelers every year.
A week after throwing four interceptions, Hodges got his second chance on Sunday. He blew that chance, but fate has provided him with a third. Will he deliver, and will it matter for the team’s playoff push?