In each of the past three seasons, the Kansas City Chiefs have been among the league’s most effective running teams. One key factor had been center Rodney Hudson.
At a cost of $44.5 million over five years, the Oakland Raiders were able to wrangle the 2011 second-round selection from their division rival during the offseason, improving the position and overall formidability of the entire offensive line.
The 25-year old is looking forward to individual and team growth during OTAs and into training camp. And, according to Hudson, chemistry is the blueprint to doing so:
“We have a good time, on and off the field: Competing; in the weight room; on the field; in the meeting room. (We’re) trying to learn the system and grow together.”
For the Mobile, Ala. native, becoming a functioning member of his new team begins with development of rapport and communication with the quarterback. But with QB Derek Carr sidelined with a finger injury since April, Hudson’s ability to get on-field time with the starting signal caller had been limited until Tuesday, when Carr returned.
First-year Raiders Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave said Carr and Hudson had a chance to work together in pre-draft veteran mini-camp, and added that both are especially “sharp” and “on it.”
According to Hudson, the limited time has been a great start, but needs to be built upon:
“It has definitely been important, so he can know what I’m thinking and he I know what he’s thinking. And it’s going well, but we’ll continue to work on that.”
The 6-foot 2, 300-pounder also cites his eagerness to learn the new system as a key in easing the transition:
“I’ve been in a few systems in my career – maybe three or four – so I’m used to learning something new and it’s going good. But I take every day as a new learning experience, you learn something new everyday.”
According to Musgrave, his system is well-designed and unique from any other that he has been a part of.
As a member of the Chiefs offensive line, Hudson has spent plenty of time pulling. With Kansas City’s affinity to run sweeps and screen passes — 60 attempted in 2014 — Hudson has, on many occasions, been asked to get in front of the ball carrier.
Musgrave said he has been pleasantly surprised by Hudson’s ability to pull so far:
“Rodney has done a terrific job (pulling). I think he is more than what we anticipated – he has better movement than we expected from our film study and seeing him from the other sideline over the years. … Our guards and tackles pull a bunch in our system, but the center needs to at times and he is definitely able to do that.”
Hudson brings everything back to chemistry, though, and its effect on the Silver and Black’s current state. According to Hudson the mix of youth and experience makes for an exciting mix, and the “upbeat” mood lends itself to a promising camp beginning in just six weeks.