The Pittsburgh Steelers ended the 2019 season much as they did the 2018 season, by allowing their playoff fate slip out of their grasp. Slow starts and slow finishes permeated both campaigns, with strong runs in between. But while the results were the same missing the playoffs, the means were quite different.
Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we. But that they still managed to go 8-8 without Ben Roethlisberger, and with the general quality of play that they faced along the way, I suppose things could have been worse.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between Head Coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2018 season.
Player: Devlin Hodges
Experience: 1 Year
Duck season didn’t last very long. Throughout the offseason, Devlin Hodges, the undrafted rookie out of Samford, was one of the most talked about players on the Steelers’ entire 90-man roster. Once he started whipping the ball around in training camp and making some plays in the preseason, people were really starting to oversell him.
Now, after he got the chance to start six NFL games as a rookie from a small school, there are many who want to wipe their hands of him. They forget the fact that the was necessarily in over his head. A rookie Samford quarterback should not be expected to play at a high level against NFL defenses immediately.
This will be a big offseason for Hodges, the opportunity to show that he can make the necessary steps in developing his game to become better than he was and to fix the flaws that were evident when he was playing.
And then to not play. Because Ben Roethlisberger is expected to be back, and the team is talking about Mason Rudolph as though they are committed to him being the backup, as he was for most of last season, and which is the role he was drafted to fulfill until he can take a shot at succeeding Roethlisberger.
Of course, don’t tell Hodges that he won’t have a shot at earning the backup spot. I fully anticipate him entering the offseason process with his eyes set on taking that job from Rudolph, and honestly, it would be foolish to think that it’s not open if his level of play proves sufficiently superior to Rudolph’s.
While undersized, Hodges has a lot of natural traits that a good quarterback needs to have, or benefits from greatly. This offseason is dedicated to developing those traits and improving the ones he still has issues with, including his pocket presence. New quarterbacks coach Matt Canada should be an asset in this endeavor.