Sometimes having too many chiefs is a bad thing.
For the Raiders, though, having two quarterbacks on the field is among the reasons the offense has been an oiled machine, first in the NFL in points scored for teams that don’t play in a dome.
The two quarterbacks: Derek Carr, of course, and then Rodney Hudson — who plays quarterback before the snap, reading the defense and making many of the same checks that Carr is assigned. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave explains:
“Those two are a dynamic duo, Rodney and Derek. Like having two quarterbacks on the field. They identify the defense, make the calls, work with one another. They both have veto power over anything that we send out there to the field and it’s just a tremendous combination between center and QB.”
Hudson came over from Kansas City a year ago, and was known as a premier center. quickly helped make the Raiders line one of the nastiest in the league, and he’s earned more recognition this season being named to the Pro Bowl.
He’s grown into earning more responsibility with Oakland, though, especially in his second season with Musgrave, the coach said:
“Centers in most systems have a lot of responsibility. We’ve been able to grow our system each and every week, and now that we’re into the second year, it’s become evident that we can put a lot on Rodney’s plate.”
Thanks to Hudson and the rest of Oakland’s line, running back Latavius Murray has averaged a career best 4.2 yards per carry (excluding his rookie season where his role was minimal) and undrafted rookie running back Jalen Richard has averaged 5.7 yards per rushing attempt during a small sample of 74 carries.
Much of that is the effort, strength and continuity that the Raiders offensive front has shown, but there’s no questioning that a large part of the jump is the result of the latter element — continuity at the offensive line is perhaps the most important part of building a team.
Bruce Irvin named defensive player of the week
Six tackles — five solo— a pair of sacks, three quarterback hits, two tackles for a loss and one forced fumble.
That was Bruce Irvin‘s stat line in the Raiders’ 19-16 victory over the San Diego Chargers, leading to his selection as the AFC defensive player of the week.
After the game, head coach Jack Del Rio said:
“Well today the way he got around the quarterback was the best part about it, but I think that from the moment that Bruce arrived, he and Khalil had a natural competition or natural kind of bond where they were two alpha males. They were going to push each other really hard every day and compete every day.”
Irvin has steadily grown into his role as a hybrid pass rusher for the Raiders, and he’s coming alive right at the perfect time — when the Raiders are competing for a first round bye after locking up their first playoff berth in 14 years.
Osemele does not practice Wednesday
Receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper were limited, along with linebackers Perry Riley Jr., Shilique Calhoun and Malcolm Smith. Carr was listed on the report as full with a pinky injury suffered several weeks ago, appearing only due to NFL rules.
Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Oakland Raiders beat writer and member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Raiders football.