The season-ending injury to C Rodney Hudson (broken bone in his left leg) is a big blow not only because the team has no true backup center but because Hudson was just starting to come into his own. To cover for him against the Saints in Week Three, starting OLG Ryan Lilja slid inside and second-round rookie Jeff Allen came off the bench to handle Lilja’s vacated spot.
It’s an OK solution for now, as Lilja is flexible and Allen had a surprisingly good training camp. But Hudson was meshing well with QB Matt Cassel and was handling the OL calls, which were resulting in more than 400 yards per game, including 191.7 on the ground. Now that gets reset with the new OL combo.
On top of that, the depth is frightening. The only backup who was with the team in training camp is rookie OT Donald Stephenson, who's a project. He’s joined by recently signed street free agents Russ Hochstein, who was cut by both the Broncos and Cardinals this offseason, and Bryan Mattison, who spent a few years with the Ravens before being cut by the OL-needy Rams this offseason.
Hochstein and Mattison both play primarily center and guard. After them, there’s no one left on the roster.
- Ryan Lilja