In his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin announced Devlin Hodges will continue to be the starting quarterback in Week 16 against the New York Jets.
Coach Tomlin said Devlin Hodges will be the #Steelers QB on Sunday vs. the Jets.— Missi Matthews (@missi_matthews) December 17, 2019
After suffering his first loss as a starter, Hodges will get the chance to rebound from his four-interception performance from Sunday night. Hodges was 23 of 38 for 202 yards and a touchdown to go along with the four interceptions. It was the first time Hodges attempted more than 21 passes in an NFL game. Following the poor performance, coach Tomlin said he felt the need to give Hodges a chance to respond to the adversity.
Mike Tomlin said Devlin Hodges will start against the Jets. "I look forward to giving him the opportunity to rebound."— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) December 17, 2019
Tomlin says he's looking for a rebound for Duck, says it's reasonable to expect growth and him to learn from the Bills loss.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) December 17, 2019
One of the issues with Hodges throwing so many interceptions was the number of passes he was asked to throw. When the Steelers attempted 38 passes compared to 15 rushes, it seemed the game plan did not fall in a similar pattern where Hodges was successful in his previous starts. In his first three games as a starter, the Steelers attempted at least 10 more rushing attempts then passing attempts in each game. In Sunday nights loss to the Bills, the Steelers attempted over 20 passes more than their rushing attempts.
"you're going to pass more when you lose" - Tomlin, asked about the pass/run ratio.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) December 17, 2019
One problem with Tomlin’s assessment of the run/pass ratio is the Steelers were not trailing in the game through most of the third quarter. In the three second-half drives when the Steelers either had the lead or were tied, they dropped back to pass nine times and attempted to run only three. In those nine drop backs, Hodges was sacked twice and threw one of his interceptions. One of the three runs was a 4-yard quarterback sneak on third and one while the other two were rushes by James Conner for a total of eight yards.
As for how long the Steelers will be patient with Hodges if he struggles in Week 16, it can be inferred the leash may be shortened when it comes to the quarterback’s performance in the next game.
Tomlin compares starting Hodges against the Jets to starting Rudolph again after a four-interception game against the Browns. The inference is that if Hodges struggles, Rudolph could be in there reasonably quickly #Steelers #dkps— Dale Lolley (@dlolley_pgh) December 17, 2019
When specifically asked about the situation of changing quarterbacks, coach Tomlin‘s response came more from the perspective of expecting success from Hodges rather than failure.
Tomlin on if Hodges will be on short leash similar to wnhat happened with Rudolph in Cincy: "I don't anticipate or plan for failure. I anticipate on him responding to the challenge."— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) December 17, 2019
How the Steelers quarterback situation plays out for the rest of 2019 will be something of interest to watch. Regardless of who is under center, seeing a change is not the desired result Steelers’ fans should want as it means the team would be struggling offensively. With two games remaining, the Steelers are assured a playoff spot if they can win their final two games. Should the Steelers falter in either game, they will need help to make the postseason.
To sum up the Steelers quarterback situation, it would be safe to say it doesn’t matter which players taking the snaps. Instead, the overall goal is making sure they take snaps in January.