Steelers Not Ready to Name Starting QB

OC Fichtner says Hodges was ‘built for the position’

Jeff Hathhorn
October 10, 2019 - 4:09 pm

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 the Fan) – After two of their three practices getting ready for the Chargers, the Steelers are still not naming a starting quarterback.  Mason Rudolph was limited on Wednesday and remains in concussion protocol with Devlin Hodges leading the first team.

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It’s been a transition for Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, who said he built an offense for a Hall of Fame quarterback and he doesn’t know if he will have a second year QB who has made two NFL starts or a first year QB, who would make his first start.

“You can’t keep it simple that it’s so simple that it’s not effective,” Fichtner said of a game-plan potentially for Hodges starting.  “You better be careful and go back in time and see what he’s done really well.”

“(Hodges) had some preseason game experience. You start pulling out some of old tape there and see what did he well.  That process is ongoing.”

While there are obviously physical differences, each had huge numbers at their colleges. 

“Devlin is a lot like Mason, he loves the game,” Fichtner said.  “It’s hard to kick him out of the building and he keeps his ears open and his mouth shut.”

Rudolph threw for 13,618 yards and 92 touchdowns at Oklahoma State, while Hodges threw for an FCS record 14,584 yards and 111 touchdowns at Samford.

“Just knowing about his history of where he played football, he’s no stranger to the forward pass,” Fichtner said of the Walter Payton Award winner.  “He likes to throw the ball and I don’t he’s ever met a pass he didn’t like.”

Hodges did not have a first-round grade on him like Rudolph did, and was released after camp ended and signed back when Josh Dobbs was traded.  Fichtner said Hodges made an immediate impression during his tryout with his unique personality, adding he was built for this position.

“I just remember him pushing the ball down the field and I remember completions,” Fichtner said of Hodges in camp.  “And before I even knew what his name was, cause I messed it up a few times, I just started calling him Duck.”

“You loved his savvy as a QB.  You liked how he got the ball out of his hands.  I will say I don’t know everything about Duck, but we are learning.”

While Hodges ran a lot from the shotgun in college, as did Rudolph, Fichtner wants them under center because it gives you more options in the run and pass game.

Fichtner also believes he has a big advantage having an All-Pro center.  Saying Maurkice Pouncey is huge for their development.

Bottom line for the Steelers second year offensive coordinator, he says they will win games when they stop beating themselves

“If every one of the 10 around him do his job to the best of their ability and mistake-free, that’s only going to help the quarterback.”