Rodney Hudson already an integral part of Cardinals’ offensive success

Sep 17, 2021, 12:00 PM

Rodney Hudson #61 of the Arizona Cardinals in the huddle during the game against the Tennessee Tita...

Rodney Hudson #61 of the Arizona Cardinals in the huddle during the game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on September 12, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

TEMPE — The Arizona Cardinals made one heck of a splash this offseason with a number of big free-agent additions.

But it’s the trade that general manager Steve Keim swung to land veteran center Rodney Hudson that is already paying off big for Arizona, both in the film room and on the field.

He may not be the most outspoken guy in either place, but when the center speaks, players and coaches alike are all ears.

“The way he’s directing traffic, the questions he’s asking. He’s all business, all the time. It’s been impressive,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Friday.

“It’s been great for all of us on the offensive side of the ball to hear his thoughts, his perspective. We’ve changed things because he has better ways of doing it at times and he’s been a real blessing.”

Hudson didn’t get where he is today without a strong work ethic. He didn’t do it alone, either, gleaning off of former teammates and coaches like Casey Wiegmann and Bill Muir early on in his career in Kansas City.

One of the biggest things drilled into Hudson was the importance of watching tape.

“You practice and you run your plays and you know what you do well, but learning what the other team does and what they do well is maybe more important as far as being prepared for the game,” Hudson said Friday.

“Obviously, you work on your stuff every day, which is very important. Not taking anything away from that but … [watching film] is … just part of the whole routine.”

Just how impactful Hudson is in Arizona was evident in Week 1, as the Cardinals offense took it to the Tennessee Titans in route to a 38-13 beatdown.

After overcoming first-drive penalty woes, quarterback Kyler Murray threw for a career-high four touchdowns and ran another, while the team’s rushing attack topped 136 yards.

The performance speaks to just how much of an asset Hudson already is within the offense, especially to a signal caller looking to take another leap in Year 3.

“It makes a ton of difference,” Murray said Wednesday. “The check to ‘Hop’ (DeAndre Hopkins) when he scored on that slant … [Hudson] before the play alerted that it was going be zero (coverage).

“I’ve never experienced that with the center alerting me that was coming. That’s just something that he does that most guys wouldn’t or wouldn’t see. Big time difference with him.”

He may be one of the newest members of the Cardinals, but Hudson has quickly meshed with an already tight-knit offensive line group.

The center’s play speaks for itself, but his ability to dissect film and his overall demeaner has made the room even closer.

“He’s been awesome. I love having Rodney here, he’s a great guy,” offensive lineman Justin Pugh said Thursday. “Better man than football player.

“He’s another leader in our room, we have a lot of guys that lead and it’s unbelievable. He made some calls on Sunday where he sees some things and he can help make checks. That’s why he’s here. He’s unbelievable.”

And to think he was shipped off by the Las Vegas Raiders for a 2021 third-round pick.

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Rodney Hudson already an integral part of Cardinals’ offensive success