Two weeks removed from the brawl heard across the NFL, the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers meet again.
This time, however, there will be some familiar faces from that brawl missing in action.
We know Myles Garrett is done for the season in Cleveland but the other main character in the infamous brawl will also be missing from the game.
Steelers’ quarterback Mason Rudolph has been demoted to bench duty as the Steelers will be rolling with Devlin Hodges as their starter this weekend.
#Steelers coach Mike Tomlin makes it official, announcing that QB Devlin Hodges will start this week against the #Browns. Mason Rudolph to the bench. 🦆
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 26, 2019
Rudolph was benched last week against the defeated Cincinnati Bengals after posting subpar numbers.
Rudolph went 8/16 with just 85 yards and no touchdowns to go along with his one interception.
He posted a 39.8 rating in the game and Tomlin had seen enough.
Tomlin named Hodges the starter moving forward in a season that still has playoff potential for Pittsburgh.
So what should the Browns expect from Hodges?
Hodges will be making his second start of the season.
He filled in for a concussed Rudolph back on October 13th against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Hodges led the Steelers to a win in that game in his best performance of the season.
The man nicknamed “Duck” for his love of duck hunting and successful past as a youth duck caller, Hodges went 15/20 for 132 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the win against the Chargers.
On the season, Hodges is 27/40 for 318 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, good enough for a 97.7 QBR.
The Browns can’t afford to take the Samford product lightly.
The undrafted free agent has shown flashes of NFL-quality arm talent.
He also provides more mobility than Rudolph does so the Browns have to be aware of his ability to scramble from the pocket.
Hodges rushed for over 1,000 yards in his four years at Samford.
While Roethlisberger and Rudolph are more of the common height for a quarterback (both 6’5″), Hodges stands at just 6’1″.
His quick release and ability to move in the pocket is what sets him apart from Rudolph.
The Steelers gameplan will almost certainly be run-heavy. However, in the opportunities that Hodges gets to throw the ball, the Browns can’t be caught napping.
Containing Hodges in the pocket and preventing him from scrambling is a must for the Browns’ defense.
They have to respect his ability to throw the deep ball as well.
Cleveland was able to intercept Rudolph four times and also sack him four times in their last meeting.
Hodges’ mobility will make that a tough task to repeat.
The defense will have to adjust to his skill set but forcing him to make tough throws from inside the pocket is how the Browns can get the win in this game.
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