PITTSBURGH — Devlin “Duck” Hodges, who threw four interceptions in the Steelers’ loss to the Bills, will remain the team’s starting quarterback for another week, coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday.
Tomlin said he looks forward to giving the undrafted rookie an opportunity to rebound from his worst start to date.
“I think it’s reasonable to expect growth from young players as they get exposure,” Tomlin said. “Sometimes that exposure can be negative exposure, like his experience in the last game, but exposure nonetheless is a tool for growth.
“Particularly at the quarterback position, I think it’s reasonable to expect him to learn from those negative experiences from last Sunday night and apply it to this next opportunity and really, hopefully not make those same mistakes twice.”
Hodges, who will face the New York Jets on Sunday, completed just 23 of 38 passes for 202 yards against the Bills. He threw one touchdown pass but was sacked four times in addition to his four interceptions, which all came on passes that traveled more than 10 yards downfield — making him and teammate Mason Rudolph the only players with four picks on deep passes in a game this season.
Rudolph, whose four interceptions came on the road against the Cleveland Browns, was given the opportunity to rebound against Cincinnati Bengals the following week.
Hodges will be given the same opportunity, Tomlin said.
“All of these guys are here playing at this level because of their ability to respond and overcome adversity,” Tomlin said. “Mason didn’t take care of the ball very well at Cleveland the first time. I gave him an opportunity the subsequent week based on those reasons. I think it’s very reasonable in our business, working with the type of competitors that we work with, that you give them an opportunity to respond to adversity and answer the bell and deliver for their football team.”
After an ineffective first half in which he threw an end zone interception against the Bengals, Rudolph was pulled after the first series of the third quarter. Tomlin wouldn’t say if Hodges’ leash would be similar.
“I don’t anticipate or plan for failure,” Tomlin said. “So I anticipate [Hodges] doing great. I anticipate him responding to the challenge. I anticipate him doing a great job of moving our offense and taking care of the ball. I hadn’t pondered the possibilities of that, and I won’t. I’ll cross that bridge if and when I come to it.”