The Oakland Raiders finished their long road trip by visiting the Houston Texans in Week 8. While the Raiders looked good to start, they ended up dropping the game, 27-24, to fall to 3-4 on the year.
While the main loss is on the scoreboard, the Raiders also lost another big piece in center Rodney Hudson. Hudson suffered an apparent ankle injury during the first quarter and was carted off the field.
Although there will likely be no official diagnosis for the next few days, head coach Jon Gruden did not seem optimistic about Hudson’s injury after the game, via Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“We felt really good about having the starters together for the first time,” Gruden said. “I don’t know the severity of it. But we’ll have to deal with it.”
Hudson has provided much needed veteran leadership during his last five seasons in Oakland. Until the matchup with the Texans, Hudson had played 100% of offensive snaps this year.
Hudson and the offensive line have done a spectacular job of protecting Derek Carr and allowing Josh Jacobs to excel in the run game. Carr has only been sacked eight times, fourth-fewest in the NFL. Of course, Jacobs has been one of the most exciting rookies in the league, averaging 92.3 yards per game through the first seven weeks.
After he went down, Hudson was replaced by undrafted rookie center Andre James and he did a solid job in his first-ever snaps on the Raiders offensive line, continuing to keep Carr safe. Of course, his job was slightly easier than it could have been as Houston’s star defensive end J.J. Watt was sidelined due to injury as well.
James has seen some field time in 2019, playing 17 snaps for the special teams. He spent four years at UCLA before joining the Raiders. Kolton Miller, who started at left tackle for the Bruins during James’s sophomore year, suffered an injury allowing James to enter the starting lineup at the right tackle. James started at right tackle during his junior year and then moved to the left side in 2018 after Miller joined the Raiders.
The Raiders’ offensive line was also bolstered by the return of right tackle Trent Brown, who did an excellent job of corralling Watt until his injury. This was the Raiders’ first game this season starting all five of their first-string offensive lineman.
Unfortunately with the injury to Hudson, they will be down a starter once again. Gruden will likely give another update soon on the severity of the injury, but it is not looking good right now.