The old adage for quarterbacks. Take what the defense gives you. Make a profit.
Or the phrase that’s popular around the South Side this year. Don’t kill us.
Devlin Hodges has been doing too much of that the last two games, throwing six interceptions as the Steelers lost winnable games against the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. Speaking to the media yesterday, he knows he must return to basics.
“Maybe sometimes just trying to force the ball a little bit instead of just taking what they are giving me,” he said. “I just have to take a step back to how I was playing those first couple of games and taking what the defense gives me.”
In his first career start versus the Chargers, he was checkdown Charlie, peppering James Conner with pass after pass. But it worked, the offense moved the ball, more importantly took care of it, and Pittsburgh won relatively comfortably. While there’s probably a middle ground, it’s hard to build a gameplan solely around three yard dumpoffs, Hodges, always a risk taker, is seeing the consequences of those gambles.
While his play has waned, his confidence hasn’t.
“I have all of confidence in the world in myself and the guys, and I just have to go out and do it.”
Though the Baltimore Ravens will be resting key starters like FS Earl Thomas, it’s still a stingy defense that’s playing well. They have stellar CB play with Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, a pass rush that boasts a Pro Bowler in Matthew Judon, and a defensive line featuring pocket-collapsing NT Michael Pierce.
The first Ravens game was Hodges’ NFL debut, where he performed admirably, and he’ll look to rekindle that magic in the finale. That means leaning on the fun-loving, Duck Mania, than focusing on the intense pressure of trying to make the playoffs.
“Maybe a little,” he said when asked if he’s putting undue pressure on himself. “I definitely want to try and take a step back and remember that, hey, this is my job and enjoy it, have fun. Obviously, there is a professional side, you have to be locked in. But you have to make sure, at the same time, I am enjoying the game that I love so much and just having fun.”