It’s Duck Season. It’s Duckamania. It’s a quack-quack here, and a quack-quack there. Here a quack....you get the drift.
I’m referring, of course, to Steelers rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges and the sensation he has quickly become since being named Pittsburgh’s starter following the Bengals game on November 24, a contest in-which he relieved struggling second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph early in the third quarter and immediately quacked some life into the Steelers listless offense.
Everywhere I go, people are aggressively asking me for my opinion on Hodges. They’re practically grabbing me by the lapel (you know, like how they used to do in the 1940s before personal boundaries became a thing?) and wanting to know if I think he can “Keep this up until the end of the season?”
When I respond with answers like, “I sure hope so,” the spirit of the retort I’m usually met with is, “Oh, come on! What kind of answer is that? It’s Duck Season, baby! He’s an undrafted free-agent who nobody thought could do it, baby! He’s kind of short and small and his arm isn’t elite-level strong. Anyway, tell me why you’re not totally sold on him yet, damn it!”
“Duh,” says me. “Because of all the things you just rattled off.”
Not only is Hodges an undersized and undrafted rookie quarterback who possesses a less than elite-level arm, he has about 12 quarters of NFL experience under his belt. Therefore, it’s perfectly understandable why I would be cautious with my praise and my expectations of Duck Dynasty.
Do you want me to be all aggressive with my opinion of Hodges and one day wind up a victim of @Stupidoldtakes (or whatever the name of that Twitter handle is that they use to expose people who have opinions about stuff)?
I’m excited about Hodges and his moxie and his confidence, but it wasn’t long ago that I was feeling pretty good about Rudolph’s future. I still might feel good about Rudolph again.
That’s the reality of having two totally inexperienced quarterbacks. Your opinion can change on either in a matter of days—both positively and negatively. Neither Hodges nor Rudolph has a resume good enough to be given the benefit of the doubt.
If Hodges stinks it up this Sunday against the Cardinals, I wouldn’t be totally shocked to see him yanked for Rudolph. If Rudolph comes in and throws three touchdowns, that still wouldn’t be enough for me to make up my mind about him.
And let’s nip this whole notion of a quarterback controversy right in the bud. Quarterback controversies involve proven veterans, grown-ups, guys with mistresses (you know, like on the show, Empire).
Hodges and Rudolph aren’t embroiled in any kind of quarterback controversy. They’re just a couple of young dudes trying to make it in the NFL. Head coach Mike Tomlin doesn’t have to worry about their egos. He can treat them and their position battle like he would any two guys at any other position. It might seem weird to say that, what with the importance of offensive cohesion, but there hasn’t been enough offensive cohesion in 2019 for a quarterback carousel to matter at this point.
Three weeks from now, if the level of Hodges’ play has risen to the level of the mania currently surrounding him, my opinion will change, as will my hopes and expectations.
As for right now, I just hope he has a decent performance against the Cardinals on Sunday.