Steelers QB Devlin Hodges (12.1.19)
Re: Pass to James Washington
It was a heck of a play by James. I think it was on an offsides call, so we had a free play. We took advantage of it and it was a little spark to get us going.
Re: Offsides play
Yeah, anytime we can get the defense to jump offsides, it’s a free play, so depending on situations; we try to take advantage of it. So, yeah, going deep is kind of the goal.
Was there any frustration being down 10-0?
Not really any frustration. They came out and did some things a little bit different than we thought they were going to do. But, when you have a defense like ours, you know they’re going to make plays. They start making plays, and we start getting into the grove, and then we got the win.
Did the offense consciously open up at that point when you were down 10-0?
No, we stuck to the game plan. We had to tweak it a little bit based on what they were doing, but we had a good game plan. We just had to start executing it.
You took a lot of shots down the sideline. It looked like the Browns were trying to show one high safeties and switch to two high safeties. What were you seeing that you were talking about on the sideline as the game was progressing?
Yeah, the first game they probably played us a little bit more in man coverage, and in this game, they played more in zone. Credit to the guys out wide. James Washington had some big plays, then some other deep threats like 18 and 80, you got opportunity to make them count and just a great job upfront giving me time. I had to settle down early in the game. I probably got out of the pocket when I shouldn’t have, but that two-minute drive was probably when I really started settling down in the pocket and that’s when we started clicking a lot better.
Re: Browns D-line and running the ball
I don’t know if they started to ware down, but at a halftime, we talked about running the football better in the second half. So, that’s what we did. We had to come out there and establish our running game, because we knew if we established our running game, that we could win the game.
Re: Opportunities to run against man
The one first-down that I got was man coverage. Then, the o-line blocked great and then it was an open lane, so I knew I could get the first down and got it. We had a couple of runs that were QB draw that was designed, and probably should have been a little bit more patient. Yeah, just making plays wherever the play is called.
Which was bigger for you, the drive in the first half or the one that started the third quarter?
I don’t know. I think one at the end of the half was huge because we tied it up there. Coming out after halftime, getting another good drive, I mean, just it’s good to get good established lead, well not an established lead, to get momentum, to keep momentum coming out in the second half. Like I said, when you have defense like ours, it makes our jobs easier.
Re: Relationship with James Washington
Well, all I know is that I tell James after the game that we are going duck hunting Tuesday just like last Tuesday. I mean, it’s awesome to have that relationship off the field. It makes on the field a little more comfortable and I try to get that relationship with all of the guys. Not everyone is duck hunting, or hunting, or anything, we all have our different types, so just trying to fit in with those guys and doing whatever it takes to build that relationship makes it a lot more calm in the game, and trust them a lot more.
For as much as Coach Tomlin has said, “Just don’t kill us,” when you’ve had to come back in games against Cincinnati, Baltimore, and today, even Mason against Miami and Seattle, that seems to be when the quarterbacks have done their best. Does that say anything to the coaches that we don’t have to be restrained to win; we can throw to win games?
I don’t know. Whatever play they call, it’s our job to execute it. I don’t know how they’re feeling on the sidelines. I don’t know that’s a tough question because yeah, obviously with me, I can speak for myself, I have the confidence I can go out there if asked to throw it every play, I can do it. Obviously, you can’t do that; you have to run the ball. So whatever play is called, we have to execute.
Re: Being introduced last and people chanting “Duck” in the stadium.
It was awesome. I kind of figured they would have me come out last before the game. It was so loud; I don’t think I heard my actual name being called. It was cool. All of the guys were hyped in the little tunnel they made. I mean it was definitely a moment I’ll never forget.
When you are running a wildcat and you point to the ground, are you just messing with them?
No, I’m just letting the referee know I’m on the ball.
Were the Steelers the only team that asked you to tryout?
No, they weren’t. I actually went to the Giants the weekend before the Steelers. I had a couple of teams call, but they all kind of all followed in the same weekend. Obviously, I’m glad that I went to the Steelers tryout, and glad I’m here now.
At any point during tryouts, training camp and the preseason, did you ever think “Okay, I’m not an NFL player”?
No, never. Never once thought that. I’ve always believed in myself. I know I have people in my corner who believed in me. Even the guys on the team, when I was let go, I had a bunch of them text me and say, “hey, this isn’t over for you”. Even some coaches texted me. I’m thankful for the Steelers and the opportunity I have had here. I’m definitely thankful to be a Steeler.
Re: Last Browns meeting
No, it didn’t seem like there was a lot of talking during the game. We knew we had to come out winning the game and that was the talking that we wanted to do, that we wanted to win the game. It doesn’t matter how much you talk if you don’t win. So, it was good to get the win. It’s always good when you can take a knee at the end of the game.
Re: Starting against a rival team
I mean, not specifically like that. It was never Heinz Field or against the Browns, it was just the NFL. I’m sure I had a bunch of different teams going through my mind, but just being in the NFL, and starting a game in the NFL, that’s a dream I’ve always had, and I always knew I could do it.
Do you feel more confident as the season has gone on?
Yeah, I wouldn’t say we really opened the playbook more. We just are executing the gameplay that we think it the best against the defense that we’re going against. Definitely more confidence each and every day because you learn things, because you get better every day. There’s a lot more confidence as the season goes on.
Re: Play on the 1-yard line
On the [1-yard line], backed up, and gave it to Benny Snell Jr., and then as soon as I handed it back it was a great hold there, he hit it, and got the first down. That’s always huge; it’s always big to get that first, first down when you’re backed up like that.
There was a bootleg, it looked like you tried to throw it left-handed, but also looked on the ground to nudge it out of bounds, is that what happened?
Yeah, yeah, I was trying to throw it away. Probably not the smartest play I had, but once it hit the ground, I just wanted to make sure it got out of bounds so they couldn’t get the ball back, because we were in field goal range.
Was it a miscommunication?
No, I mean, it was just me trying to force it a little bit, overthrowing Diontae Johnson. It’s a play I wish I could have back, but I think defense came back out there and made a big stop that drive.
The 9-yard run, that was a scramble, that wasn’t designed?
I think I only ran it three times and I think one was scramble, and two were designed.
Re: Conversation with Randy Fichtner on the interception
Just to say let’s jog back out there and play. You know, protect the ball. If we don’t turn over the ball, we can win this game. So, kind of just taking one play at a time. I had to let it go and move onto the next play.
Does the third-down play to Vance McDonald extended the last drive, can you walk us through that play?
They played great coverage. Vance is a big target. To put it in a space where he can catch it. Vance has just always been so good with the ball after the catch. I think he broke a tackle and kind of got past the firs-down, which was huge for us. Shout out to Vance, great play.
You said today was an experience you’ll never forget, but how to describe this whole week for you? Does it feel different this time around?
I mean it felt a little different because I knew I was playing at home. I knew there was a bigger expectation. I think I took it in well. I was just really excited to come out here and have the opportunity to play football. Football is fun, football is really fun, and it’s always great when you get the win.