The departure of former Raiders center Rodney Hudson is a tough void to fill from a leadership standpoint, but Richie Incognito is up for the challenge.
The Las Vegas Raiders 2021 offseason was yet again tumultuous. But, arguably, the most surprising transaction was the trade of former All-Pro Center Rodney Hudson to the Arizona Cardinals. The variables that contributed to the situation are fluid, but the final result is the same, as Las Vegas lost one of the NFL’s top offensive linemen along with his experience.
The latter portion of the previous sentence is the more concerning aspect that is not being discussed enough. Hudson’s prowess of diagnosing blitzes and making the proper protection calls from the center position cannot be epitomized enough.
And while Raiders starting guard Richie Incognito isn’t a center, his time to become a bonafide leader with the Silver and Black is now.
Raiders turning to Richie Incognito for leadership
In a recent interview with The Athletic’s Tashan Reed, Las Vegas Raiders guard Richie Incognito spoke on how he’s always been a leader. However, he elaborated on how he had to take a backseat to former 6-time team captain Rodney Hudson the past two seasons:
"“The day they cut me, Coach Gruden talked to me about coming back and leading this young offensive line group,” Incognito said. “I was fortunate to sit behind Rodney, and let Rod lead and kind of do my thing as a leader, but ‘Hey, Rod is the guy.’ Now, I’m the guy.” ~via – The Athletic"
Hudson spent seven seasons commandeering the Raiders’ offensive front, so Richie’s respect level for him was both magnanimous and well-deserved. With him out of the picture, though, the 14 year NFL veteran is ready to lead Las Vegas to the playoffs in 2021.
It has been an incredible journey for Incognito to get to this point, as he was once one of the best offensive guards in the NFL, and then had some major issues off the field. With the Raiders, he has put all of those issues in the past and has been the consummate professional, and teammate, something that the Raiders desperately need right now.
Remember, this is a team that has revamped the entire offensive line this offseason outside of Incognito and Kolton Miller, so leadership is paramount.
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The Silver and Black should be grateful that Incognito is sticking around for this season. Without him, the offensive line would bear the potential to let this team down immensely – thankfully, he will not allow that to occur.