Now that training camp is underway, and the roster for the offseason is close to finalized—though always fluid—it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past few months.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we move forward.
Player: QB Devlin Hodges
Stock Value: Down
I would have done this yesterday, but I felt it was too obvious for the immediate aftermath of the game. Any time you throw four interceptions in a game, your stock is going to be down, after all. Devlin Hodges came into Sunday’s game having thrown two interceptions on 80 pass attempts. 38 attempts later, now he has six, with an interception on 5.1 percent of his attempts.
That was after the Cleveland Browns secondary consistently got the better of him in the most critical moments. He was twice picked off by Tre’Davious White, on one jumping the route, and another largely an excuse of a bad throw that should have been on the outside shoulder, but instead was on the inside.
As if those weren’t bad enough, he threw two interceptions in the waning moments in the end zone while the Steelers were trailing by seven points. It goes without saying, you can’t turn the ball over when you’re in scoring position.
Not only did he turn the ball over numerous times, he has continued in some instances to show the decision-making and processing speed of an undrafted rookie. His feel for pressure in the pocket remains average to poor when it’s not right in his face, which has been a primary cause of the majority of his sacks, three of which caused him to fumble. He fumbled again on Sunday.
It’s unlikely that head coach Mike Tomlin is going to suddenly pull the plug on Hodges and put Mason Rudolph back under center after that one game; however, it’s not impossible that he could be on a short leash, the way Rudolph was, if his struggles continue into Sunday’s game.
The Steelers’ margin for error is officially zero. The only way they can guarantee a playoff spot is by winning their final two games; otherwise, they will need help, and we know how well that has worked out for them more often than not, including last season.