Devlin Hodges knows that he is starting on Sunday afternoon against the New York Jets. Anything beyond that doesn’t matter right now. In part because there might not be much of a beyond that, at least with respect to the rookie undrafted free agent remaining the starting quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
While head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters that he’s not planning for nor anticipating failure, Mason Rudolph is also getting additional work this week that he had not in the past while serving as Hodges’ backup, so clearly a contingency plan is in the works.
After all, Tomlin pulled Rudolph under very similar circumstances several weeks ago, so there’s no reason to think that it couldn’t happen twice, once each to a pair of very young and inexperienced quarterbacks who entered the season with a combined zero snaps.
When asked if he was thinking about the possibility of being on a ‘short leash’ at all, Hodges told reporters that he hasn’t. “I don’t think any of the coaches are thinking about that because I don’t think any of the coaches are expecting me to have a bad game”, he added. “They expect me to learn and get better and play well”.
Of course, it’s one thing to expect to do well and another to actually deliver. Rudolph and Tomlin expected the former to have a good, bounceback game against the Cincinnati Bengals in the game in which he was pulled, and since which he has not taken the field.
Nevertheless, Hodges feels there is confidence in him in Tomlin’s naming him the starter. “We watched the tape. I’ve got some things I can get better and can learn from”, he said. “Have to let that one go and move on and get ready for this week”.
On the lessons learned from the game, he said that it was “just different things about experience and situational football. Probably just little different tips here and there. That is just something, like I said, you have to move on from it. It is over with. I don’t want to think about last week and just have to focus on this week and get a win this week”.
He admitted that the first 24 hours after the game was tough and that he felt the disappointment, but he’s moved on from the loss, put it behind him, and is now singularly focused on doing what is necessary to record a victory over the Jets, which is the only thing that matters right now, both for himself and for the Steelers.