The Las Vegas Raiders underwent a major facelift along the offensive line this offseason with the departures of Trent Brown, Gabe Jackson, and Rodney Hudson.
The Raiders managed to maintain some continuity up front by bringing back guards Richie Incognito and Denzelle Good on the inside. They also doubled down on left tackle Kolton Miller as a foundational piece of the future after signing a three-year extension.
Las Vegas has since shored up some depth at center by re-signing Andre James and adding former Houston Texans center Nick Martin to the mix. Regardless, offensive line coach Tom Cable is confident James is more than up to the task of taking on an increased role.
There is no question that Hudson left behind some big shoes to fill as a three-time Pr Bowler with the Raiders. According to Vic Tafur of TheAthletic.com, Cable feels James boasts many of the same characteristics his predecessor did.
“That’s tough, that’s tough,” Cable said in a phone interview Sunday. “He has all this knowledge and what a great leader he is, too. When you’re trying to build a top-level team, you need people of high quality and character like that. It’s tough to lose a guy like Rodney, but at the same time I think those are a lot of the characteristics that Andre James brings to this deal. He just hasn’t done it as much, obviously.”
Cable added that James also has similar traits to former three-time Pro Bowl center Max Unger.
“It was easy to make that comparison because Max and Andre had so many similar characteristics,” Cable said. “He moves like Max, he does this like Max, … he thinks like Max. … And as soon as he demonstrated a lack of fear with it, that’s your green light.”
Cable’s comments are certainly an encouraging sign that James is ready to fill the void left behind by Hudson. It is safe to say that these are rather high expectations for someone initially signed to the team as an undrafted free agent back in 2018.
Despite their confidence in James, he still lacks quality experience after starting just one game for an injured Hudson during the 2019 campaign. As a result, it appears Martin is slated to provide some competition in training camp and a contingency plan during the 2021 NFL season.
The onus will ultimately fall on Cable to ensure that James makes tremendous strides in his development.