Oakland Raiders vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Players of the Game
By Austin Gayle
Aug 2, 2015; Napa, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders center Rodney Hudson (61) at training camp at the Napa Valley Marriott. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
With a lot of the credit going to Oakland’s talented weapons at the skill positions, sometimes their offensive line’s success can fly under the radar, including the dominant play from center Rodney Hudson. As the centerpiece of an overall solid unit, Hudson has proven to be a worthy investment over the offseason, as the former Kansas City Chief has been outstanding in both pass protection and the run game.
According to ProFootballFocus.com, Hudson received the highest grade among all of Oaklands offensive line (+2.9), while he also graded out as the No. 4 overall player on the Raiders team on Sunday. PFF also has Hudson listed as the fourth-best center in the league through nine weeks.
With the task of dictating a lot of the shifts in pass protection, Hudson did a solid job of adjusting to oncoming blitzes in order to give Carr enough time to effectively make a decision to throw down field. Hudson was also asked to maintain double-teams and sometimes pull around in the run game, in which he also held his own against Pittsburgh’s talented front seven.
Again, Carr wasn’t sacked once, while Oakland’s rushing attack took advantage of some big holes to finish the game with 139 yards on 25 carries.
Hudson’s impact was especially felt when he left the game with a lower leg injury in the fourth quarter, as replacement center Tony Bergstrom gave up at least two QB hurries in the time he was inserted into the lineup. Luckily for Oakland, early signs point to Hudson not missing too much time after the injury.
Though Hudson is the player in focus, Oakland’s offensive line as a whole was an important factor in their ability to stay in this one to the end. Hudson and company will hopefully continue to dominate at the point of attack in next week’s contest against Minnesota.