Tomlin Says Hodges to Start Again

Steelers coach also with Conner & JuJu injury update

Jeff Hathhorn
December 03, 2019 - 1:15 pm
Mike Tomlin at the podium

93.7 the Fan

PITTSBURGH (93.7 the Fan) – Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said in his opening statement on Tuesday that Devlin Hodges will indeed remain the starting quarterback.

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Not surprising as Hodges is the first undrafted rookie NFL quarterback since 1987 (the strike year) to win his first two starts.

The numbers also back it up.  Hodges is 41-61 for 530 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.  However, Tomlin said the challenge picks up Sunday in Arizona.

“It’s tough for a veteran quarterback in hostile environments to execute the necessary communication in the allotted time to just handle the things that need to go on to snap the football,” Tomlin said.  “It gets doubly challenging when you lack experience in that area.”

Tomlin noted that Hodges has roughly seven quarters of experience doing it.  He is not going to overwhelm him with extra attention, saying Hodges will get the normal preparation time for a NFL quarterback.  And that is the way Tomlin approached it Sunday against the Browns.

“I’m thoughtful about my interactions with people,” Tomlin said.  “We always say the right things, but do our actions match our words.”

“I told Duck I had a lot of confidence in his abilities and his preparation and his talents and I wanted to display that confidence by not talking him to death.”

Tomlin said Hodges did a good job of taking care of the football and really performed well in the final drive of the first half and the first drive of the second half against Cleveland.  So Hodges gets the keys again with a 7-5 team hanging on to the final playoff spot.

“There are so many areas that we need to work with Devlin on,” Tomlin said.  “It’s when you have to start taking calculated risks in pursuit of victory.  Its things he’s going to learn and we are going to learn and hopefully we don’t get any negativity in the process.”

Injury update

Tomlin said they still don’t have a lot of clarity with James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster’s injuries.  Tomlin said Conner has the best chance to practice this week and that both worked out yesterday.  The team’s first on-field work is Wednesday afternoon.

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