The Raiders played mostly the younger players in Saturday’s exhibition game, but the one player that everyone wanted to see was new starting center Andre James.
James took 23 snaps as the Raider’s new center in their first preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.
In his first matchup, he went against the starting defensive tackle for the Seahawks, Bryan Mone. The rest of the defensive line was second and third-stringers.
James used his quick feet and great technique to win multiple battles on his limited snaps throughout this game.
For example, on the second snap of the game, James snapped the ball and quickly got into position to take on a bull rush from Bryan Mone. Mone bull-rushed James, who got his hands to the inside chest plates of Mone. Simpson came from the left side and blindsided Mone, who fell off balance. As he was off-balance, James cleaned him up and put him to the ground for James’ first pancake block of 2021.
James did a great job blocking, but possibly his biggest challenge was getting his line calls correct. On the second third-down of the game, with 8 yards to go, the Seahawks showed a blitz. They lined up their LB in the C-gap, and their MLB showed a blitz over the center.
Andre James was able to recognize who was going to blitz and gave the offensive linemen their responsibilities. The offensive line slid to their right, the running back picked up the middle linebacker, and Nathan Peterman was able to throw a pass to Zay Jones for a 28-yard gain.
“I thought Andre did a good job. He made some great calls upfront,” coach Gruden told reporters after the game. If Andre James can replicate the success he had last night next week when they play the Rams, it could indicate the Raiders made the correct move by trading Rodney Hudson.
Not only did the Raiders get younger, but they also saved money and will be able to use that cap on other players moving forward. It’ll be interesting to keep an eye on James the rest of the preseason to see how he performs.
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