Hudson readies to fill big shoes

Posted Jun 18, 2012

Former second-round pick Rodney Hudson embraces starting role at new position

Jon Asamoah learned to silence his cell phone after the first week of Chiefs OTAs. If he didn't, the third-year offensive guard would have to hear the tones from Rodney Hudson's texts all night.

From individual plays to overall blocking schemes, Hudson had questions about the Chiefs' playbook. And Asamoah was often the recipient of many a late-night texting interrogation.

"Early when we started all this offseason stuff, I was getting texts at night from him (Hudson) asking me all kinds of questions," Asamoah said. "He was asking 'What do we do on this?' or 'What about this?' He really got into it."

Asamoah could tell Hudson wanted to avoid being the weak link in the Chiefs revamped offensive line. In free agency, the team added Pro Bowler Eric Winston at right tackle, leaving the duo as the two youngest members in an otherwise veteran-laden unit.

When the 2012 season begins, Asamoah and Hudson will have five seasons of NFL experience between them. So both players used the Chiefs OTA and minicamp practices to fit in with their more experienced line mates.

The offseason training is key for Hudson, whose next start at center will be his first career one. With one start at guard against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the second-year player said he could've used the practice time he was denied as a rookie in last year's lockout-shortened offseason.

This offseason, Hudson is taking advantage of his time in the classroom, studying offensive coordinator Brian Daboll's new playbook for hours as the next anchor of the Chiefs offensive line.

"As football players, you just have to pick up and learn," said Hudson. "I'm still learning, and trying to correct my mistakes. It helps that everyone is learning (the new offense) with me."

But Hudson knows his slip-ups will be magnified a little more as he replaces former Chiefs ironman Casey Wiegmann.

Wiegmann was the center for over 10,000 snaps during his seven total seasons with the Chiefs. Hudson admitted it's "a little weird" replacing such an experienced player, but vowed to become just as skilled in his own right.

In the eyes of his coaches, Hudson is doing a good job of making a name for himself and stepping out of Wiegmann's large shadow.

"He seems to be handling that (pressure) pretty well," said coach Romeo Crennel about his new center. "One of the things that we wanted to see is what kind of command that he would take of the offensive line. It looks like he’s doing a nice job of it."

Asamoah was also singled out for his improved play. Winston said Asamoah, his new partner on the right side of the Chiefs line, improved after every snap.

Winston expects Asamoah to become a special player for the Chiefs in the near future, and when that day comes, Winston have an even easier time blocking opponents at right tackle.

"I’ve been lucky enough to play with a lot of good right guards in my time,” Winston said. “They make you look better when they’re good, because they’re the guy on your back that’s going to help you, that’s going to cover you sometimes when you miss it and John’s that kind of player.”

Winston's input is critical to Asamoah's continued development. In Houston, Winston blocked for two-time All-Pro running back Arian Foster under coach Gary Kubiak's zone blocking scheme.

Daboll will implement a similar zone-blocking scheme with the Chiefs in 2012, and Asamoah has taken advantage of Winston’s knowledge to adapt at right guard.

"He's teaching me something new every day," said Asamoah. "At that right guard spot, you're always communicating with the tackle. You have to know how you guys are going to approach things. Guys have different skill sets and are going to approach things different ways, so you just have to be out here every day learning each other."

With each new text, Winston's new pupil became Hudson's new teacher. And Asamoah made sure to text Hudson back every time, answering his questions like a veteran would.

"We're definitely the younger guys in the classroom--no doubt about it," said Hudson. "But we're trying to learn and soak in as much as we can from the veterans here and get better.”


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