Devlin Hodges' advice from teammates: 'Still be Duck'

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  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
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Upon a Christmas day in which the Steelers' quarterback of autumns past tweeted out his intentions of being the quarterback of the future, as well, Devlin "Duck" Hodges was addressing the media on a day in which Pittsburgh had a holiday practice.

A third-stringer who took on the starting job originally due to an injury to Mason Rudolph, Hodges was reinserted due to Rudolph's poor performance and then lost it himself for the same reason. Now, with Rudolph injured again, Hodges is QB1 in Pittsburgh for likely the rest of the season -- however long that may be.

There's a good many scenarios in which the Steelers can punch a ticket to the playoffs, but the most notable combinations are Pittsburgh (8-7) defeating a starter-sitting Baltimore (13-2) combined with Tennessee (8-7) losing to Houston (10-5) -- along with Hodges playing better than he's been playing.

Hence, the rookie is simply concentrating on what the Steelers (and he) can control in a must-victory circumstance.

"It's definitely a must-win," Hodges said Wednesday via team transcript. "We have to win the game and see what other things happen. We're focused on us and focused on what we've got to do to win the game."

As the Steelers have lost their last two games, they've combined for just 20 points and Hodges has started both. Hodges was benched in the Week 16 16-10 loss to the Jets. Rudolph came on and threw Pittsburgh's only TD of the game, but then suffered an injured shoulder.

Over the last two games, Hodges has thrown one touchdown to six interceptions with a 41.7 passer rating. It's a horrible change in comparison to his first three starts, as the Steelers were 3-0, he had three touchdowns, just two picks and a 101.8 rating.

"I just have to take a step back to how I was playing those first couple of games and taking what the defense gives me," Hodges said. "I have all of the confidence in the world in myself and the guys, and I just have to go out and do it."

Hodges added the past Sunday was his first time being benched and it was "definitely tough." Still, he says his confidence remains unchanged, and all the peaks and valleys are simply "helping me progress and get better."

It would seem in that aspect that he's following the advice of his teammates. Despite his pitfalls, the quarterback says his Steelers brethren have bestowed upon him some rather simple words of wisdom.

"They have just told me, 'Hey man, still be you. Still be Duck. You have gotten the job done before, we know you can do it,'" Hodges said. "'Just go out there and do it.'"

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