Cardinals’ Justin Pugh sees shades of Suns’ Chris Paul in Rodney Hudson
Aug 9, 2021, 6:45 PM
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
GLENDALE — The Arizona Cardinals attacked both sides of the football this offseason, adding a number of big names to the mix in 2021.
Of the offseason additions, perhaps the biggest was the acquisition of veteran center Rodney Hudson.
With Hudson in the fold, the Cardinals get a savvy veteran presence to pair with Kyler Murray and an improved offensive line.
Cardinals coaches and players have gone on record saying the Hudson get is “next level” and an absolute “home run” for the organization and Murray’s growth as an NFL signal-caller.
Sound familiar? The early praise parallels another veteran new to the Valley, but is already making a massive impact.
Much like Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul, Hudson was brought in to propel the team’s most dynamic player to another level, while bringing stability to arguably the most important position in the sport and doing everything humanly possible to be the best version of himself come game day.
In his first year with Phoenix, Paul was able to catapult the Suns to the NBA Finals, resulting in a breath of fresh for a franchise that had been down for so long. The Cardinals sit in a similar boat, having not made the playoffs since 2015.
“Rodney’s been huge, I knew Rodney from NFLPA meetings. I’ve sat and talked with him before,” offensive lineman Justin Pugh said after training camp on Monday. “And then going through the offseason, hanging out and just getting to know what type of man he is, he’s awesome.
“We all know what he can do on the football field, but the integrity. It’s almost like a … Chris Paul type of addition where you bring in a guy with that veteran leadership who knows how to do things right off the field and it trickles onto the field.”
Hudson has played in every game in seven out of his 10 previous NFL seasons with the Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs, making the Pro Bowl three times over that span.
But despite the accolades and multiple years of service, Hudson has attacked Arizona’s offensive gameplan like a rookie trying to earn a spot on the roster since making his way to the organization.
“He’s an outstanding leader, he’s a football junkie,” Cardinals run game coordinator and offensive line coach Sean Kugler said Saturday. “He’s always asking a million of questions, he always wants to watch extra film, he wants to have the right answer on everything.
“He fits right in in the room, the guys love him. He’s an ultra competitor and to have a guy of that caliber at the center position with Kyler behind him is really gonna be a next step for our team.”