With Chad Greenway Hurt, Gerald Hodges Gets His Shot


It’s one of those harsh realities of football that no one wants to really acknowledge but you can’t altogether ignore: Sometimes an injury to a teammate can be the best thing that ever happened to a player.

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Gerald Hodges certainly isn’t rooting for Chad Greenway to remain on the shelf with hand and rib injuries, but you also know Hodges will do his level best to take advantage of what for Greenway is a horribly unfortunate situation.

Greenway was forced to leave Sunday’s loss to the Saints after aggravating an injury to his ribs, and as of Thursday he was still unable to practice.

With Greenway not practicing, it’s likely the veteran linebacker will not be able to suit up this weekend against the Falcons.

Enter Gerald Hodges. The second-year linebacker got first team reps on Thursday in place of Greenway, and looks well on his way to starting at the Will backer spot come Sunday.

This could be a golden opportunity for Hodges, who has looked strong in spot duty throughout the first three weeks.

A fourth-round pick out of Penn State in 2013, Hodges was a forgotten man in his rookie year under Leslie Frazier.

Uncertainty clouded his future going into the first year of the Mike Zimmer regime, but after playing well in preseason, Hodges secured himself a prominent spot in the linebacker rotation.

Through three games, he was the fourth backer behind starters Anthony Barr, Jasper Brinkley and Greenway, and ahead of fan favorite Audie Cole.

Once viewed as a potentially good backup/special teams contributor, Hodges has been impressive enough to warrant consideration as a starter.

Hodges has not only looked strong in run support, he has shown himself to be an able coverage man as well. Younger and quicker than Greenway, he gives Mike Zimmer another potential playmaker to team with Barr in the nickel.

NFL life has sometimes been frustrating for Hodges, but now the light is ready to shine on him. Thanks to Chad Greenway’s misfortune, Hodges is going to get his shot.

If he plays well enough in Greenway’s absence, it may be hard for Mike Zimmer to pull Hodges and put the fading, beat-up veteran back in.