On Tuesday, the Redblacks got their second win of the season with a 34-24 victory over the Edmonton Elks. Former Louisiana-Monroe quarterback Caleb Evans played well in his first CFL game, completing 15 of 22 passes for 191 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also had 59 rushing yards off 7 carries.
While Evans may be the answer to Ottawa’s struggles for now, he’s probably not a long-term solution. Recently, the team signed former NFL quarterback Devlin “Duck” Hodges to a three-year deal, and he should eventually get the starting job. Head coach Paul LaPolice said that fans should “lower their expectations” for Hodges, as it will take him time to adjust to the CFL’s playing style.
Hodges played college football at Samford University in Alabama, where he became the all-time leader in FCS passing yards. He was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 2019, and played in 8 games (6 starts) during his rookie season. Over that span, Hodges completed 62.5% of his passes for 1,063 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. After spending the entire 2020 season on the practice squad, he signed with the Los Angeles Rams, but was cut shortly after training camp. Now, Hodges will look to revive his career in Canada, but when will it begin?
There’s a good chance he’ll have to be prepared sooner than later, as Dominique Davis and Matt Nichols are both injured. Caleb Evans became the QB1 very quickly, and if something were to happen to him, Hodges needs to be ready to go. The original plan was likely to have him sit for the rest of this year and give him a full offseason of training, but given how shaky things have been (even with a recent win), it wouldn’t be a surprise if he took the field before the end of 2021.
Redblacks fans have a lot to look forward to, as Hodges is a very talented quarterback that’s still pretty young. However, the team doesn’t want to rush his development. If Evans continues to perform the way he did against Edmonton, then Ottawa should be fine, but it doesn’t mean they’re going to turn their season around. Hodges’ progress is a situation that should be constantly monitored, because even if it’s not a big deal now, he’s going to be a major part of the team’s future.