The Steelers decision to fly with Duck Hodges is the right choice. Duck has proven to have poise and energy, and brings a winning attitude to the huddle.
The Steelers announced their decision to start Devlin “Duck” Hodges this week against the Cleveland Browns and most, if not all, of Steelers Nation could not be happier. The decision to start Hodges makes complete sense. He brings a spark to an offense that lacked one under Mason Rudolph.
On Hodges’s first drive against the Bengals, he hit James Washington in stride for a 79-yard touchdown. The energy he brought was palpable.
Unlike Rudolph, Hodges brings a confidence and poise to the huddle. The moment doesn’t appear too big for him and he has a better football sense than Rudolph.
Some will sight the fact that Hodges only completed 5 of 11 passes against the Bengals but those five completions were made at critical times. It’s about what those completions meant to the team when they occurred.
Hodges, in his admittedly limited action, takes care of the football. He’s thrown only one interception this season compared to Rudolph who has nine picks on the year, five in his last 28 attempts. That’s not winning football.
Tomlin indicated this move may only be temporary and it’s one that is for this week, to start, but as long as the Steelers are in the playoff race, Hodges needs to be the guy.
This black and gold team has the model makeup of playoff football. They have an opportunistic defense who gets to the quarterback and creates turnovers in droves. They have, in Hodges, a quarterback who can make the necessary plays when called upon and more importantly take care of the football (or as Tomlin said, “not kill us”).
In December, that’s the formula this team needs to rely upon to win games. This is no longer an explosive offense featuring Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown or LeVeon Bell. This offense now features Devlin Hodges, Diontae Johnson, and Benny Snell. You read that correctly; those are your three playmakers heading into this week.
Yet all of Pittsburgh believes in the Duck because the Steelers believe in the Duck. He’s a winner and he’ll lead this team to a victory again this week over the rival Browns.
If for some reason, Hodges and the Steelers begin to fade out of playoff contention, then, and only then, should the Steelers return to the struggling Rudolph to continue his evaluation.
In the meantime, the black and gold will ride with the Duck and that’s the right call to stay in this 2019 playoff race.