One of the biggest challenges this week at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex would be finding someone who isn’t singing the praises of rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges.
And no, they aren’t singing his praises just to make the young signal caller, and duck caller, feel good. They are saying things because they are genuinely impressed with what Hodges brings to the table.
Defensive coordinator Keith Butler might have paid him one of the highest compliments when he compared a throw Hodges made to the talents of Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts.
“I don’t know if you noticed, the one pass I was really impressed with was a deep out on our offensive right that he threw before the receiver came out of his break,” recalled Butler. “As soon as the receiver came out of his break, he hit him right in the chest. As soon as he got his head around, he hit him right in the chest.
“It was a big-time throw. You see people like Dan Fouts making throws like that. You don’t see young guys making those throws a lot. To me, that was impressive. I hope he continues to develop. I think he will help us. We have to support him, though. We have to support him offensively and defensively. We have to help the young man out as much as we can.”
Nick Vannett barely had a chance to get accustomed to Mason Rudolph at quarterback after he was traded to the Steelers on Sept. 24, but said it hasn’t been a problem adjusting to Hodges.
“I don’t think it’s much of a transition at all,” said Vannett. “Both guys are really on top of their stuff. When Devlin is in there, he has that voice in the huddle he is able to get everybody under control, say everything with confidence, get everybody lined up, know where the hots are and know where the line is working. All of that. Everything a quarterback needs to know in this offense, he knows. I think he has the confidence. You saw it in the game. I don’t think there is any drop off. He is stepping up and we aren’t missing a beat.
“We all have full confidence in him and full trust in him.”
He said it:
Joe Haden on the challenge the defense faces going against Philip Rivers:
“He is very, very, very smart. He knows what you are going to be in. He gets the ball out of his hands very, very fast. He is just a vet. He has been in the game a long time. He has seen a lot. You can’t just stand back and show him what we are in. We have to move around and not let him know what the coverage is.”
Keith Butler on how having Ryan Shazier around helps the younger players:
"It helps them because of the experience. Most of us, him in particular, learn by our mistakes. He has been down the road and he can try to help them from making the same mistakes he did and as a consequence make them better."