3 Steelers X-factors for must win game vs Jets

Next2 of 3Prev
Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – DECEMBER 15: Devlin Hodges #6 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before the game against the Buffalo Bills at Heinz Field on December 15, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

1. Devlin Hodges

Hodges had his worst game of the year last week against Buffalo. He threw four interceptions and made some bad throws in big moments.

He will need to, first, take better care of the football. Mike Tomlin said when he named him the starter he expects Hodges to not kill the Steelers and games like he had against the Bills are what kills the team.

Hodges will need more help from his offensive line to give him time to make better decisions. He seemed hurried on a lot of throws but that is also a credit to a great Buffalo defense.

The receivers will need to do better at creating separation and getting open. Hodges can make better decisions if his receivers win their match-ups consistently.

2. The runningbacks

The Steelers had five backs active last week yet barely ran the football despite early success with James Conner. Conner being healthy brings a good mix of power and finesse to the Steelers backfield.

Randy Fichtner needs to do a better job at mixing in some run plays. Hodges should not be counted on to throw the ball almost 40 times a game and a good run game will help the team avoid that.

Conner, Benny Snell, Jaylen Samuels, Kerrith Whyte, and Tremaine Edmunds all will likely be active again and, with that many backs, there is no excuse not to pound the rock. A good run game can help open up a passing game with both play action and just bringing the defense up to stop it.

If the Steelers can get any sort of run game going, I believe it will help Hodges settle into the game more. This will lead to overall better play from him and keep him focused on taking care of the ball and making good decisions.

Next2 of 3Prev
Use your ← → (arrows) to browse