Ryan Lilja is out for the Kansas City Chiefs next game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football. And while the cripples the team's depth along the line, it also gives a rookie his first chance to start. Rodney Hudson, the Chiefs' second round choice in this year's NFL Draft, will make his first start on a line that's becoming increasingly younger when the team faces the vaunted Steelers defense.
Todd Haley spoke of the Florida State star this week when discussing the team's upcoming game, and said he has great confidence in Rodney.
"The fact that he got to play a little bit last week I think was a big thing," said Haley. "He went in and he did a good job for the snaps that he was in. That helps a bunch, just from the standpoint of just having confidence. We had a bunch of confidence in Rodney up until that point, but again, much like Tyler, you don’t know until they’re actually in there. I and we have great confidence in Rodney and his ability to come in and step in for Ryan [Lilja], and for us to be able to do the things necessary that we feel that we need to do to have a chance to win offensively. He’s a versatile guy that didn’t lose his cool at all last week and he’s prepared hard this week. I’ve got great confidence in Rodney that he’ll step in and be able to allow us to keep moving forward."
As to where he will play ultimately, Haley spoke of his experience at both guard and center.
"He’s really been split. In our desire to continue to develop another center – obviously he’s our second center – but in our desire to try to get another guy going, we’ve kept him out of guard a bunch to try to give reps to a couple of the other guys to work on the center position, so he’s been mixed and that’s really one of his strengths. We had him getting a bunch of snaps last week for Casey [Wiegmann] because he had been beat up a little bit and we didn’t know exactly how that was going to go. Rodney has been probably evenly split here through the time that he’s been here at center and both guards."