All it took was one play, one moment, a 79-yard touchdown pass to James Washington and just like that, the Devlin Hodges era in Pittsburgh began, or is it?
Before anointing Hodges as the starting quarterback going forward, it is imperative to have an honest assessment of the game he had this afternoon against the Bengals. Aside from his big completion to Washington, Hodges was not as efficient as many would have expected. In addition to taking two sacks, he had few completions over 10 yards. In all, it was the defense that once again came through with clutch turnovers to preserve the lead.
The question one needs to ask about Hodges is this; can he be a permanent starter, or is he better suited as a backup? One of the notable aspects about Hodges is his ability to manage a game. As we saw previously in his performance against the Chargers, he does not take too many chances, and does a better job of going through his progressions, which represents a major area of weakness for Mason Rudolph.
Here is the reality with both Rudolph and Hodges. Each is limited in experience, each has similar issues with efficiency, and each is better suited for a backup role.
One thing that should be agreed upon is this, if head coach Mike Tomlin is able to attain a winning season with either Rudolph or Hodges starting, it should validate him as an elite head coach. The narrative that Tomlin has obtained his success with inherited talent will lose its merit. Each week, he has faced a new challenge since week 2 when Ben Roethlisberger left the game against Seattle. Lesser coaches would not be able to adjust the way he has been able to this season.
What is for certain, is that Rudolph nor Hodges are the answer to who will become Roethlisberger's successor.More than likely, the next Steelers franchise quarterback will need to be found at some point in the NFL Draft.
As far as this season is concerned, it is going to be a bumpy ride the rest of the way. Hopefully, it will result in the Steelers reaching their playoff destination.