For the first time since Bill Cowher benched Kordell Stewart in favor of Tommy Maddox, the Steelers have an actual in-season switch at quarterback.
In somewhat of a surprising move in terms of letting the cat out of the bag this early, head coach Mike Tomlin announced that rookie free agent Devlin Hodges would start this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, replacing Mason Rudolph.
Tomlin made it very clear that this move had nothing to do with the controversy at the end of the game the last time these two teams met and everything to do with needing to win this week.
“I thought he provided us a spark in-game, and I’m hopeful he is capable of continuing that spark as we step into this stadium,” said Tomlin today at his press conference.
Tomlin said that he informed Rudolph of his decision this morning and that this decision has no bearing on his long-term future with the organization.
“We’re putting pieces together on a week-by-week basis because of the adversity the game presents,” said Tomlin. “We are singularly focused on winning this game and putting ourselves in position to win this game. We’ll see where we are after this game. We have no intended plans beyond this one.”
Since the game at Cleveland, Rudolph biggest problem has been turning the ball over, having thrown five interceptions including one against the Bengals before being pulled in favor of Hodges.
This will be Hodges second start of the season with his other start coming against the Chargers when Rudolph was sidelined with a concussion. In that game against the Chargers, Hodges finished 15 of 20 for 132 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
It remains to be seen whether or not Hodges will get to work with a couple big offensive weapons in JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner. Tomlin said it’s not yet known whether or not either one of them will be available this Sunday. Of the two, Smith-Schuster has the better chance of playing.