Center Rodney Hudson
The Oakland Raiders announced Saturday night that Jon Gruden would become the next Head Coach of the Silver and Black. As you could imagine, the news had people talking, and his return to the team will officially be introduced Tuesday when his press conference is held at the team’s facility in Alameda, Calif.
While this has dominated headlines for the past 48 hours, the Raiders regular season just wrapped up a little over a week ago, and now that all 16 chapters in the 2017 campaign have been written, let’s take a moment to look at all the awards and honors from the team’s season.
**Center Rodney Hudson
First and foremost, Hudson is a true iron man. In 2017, No. 61 played every snap for the Raiders, regardless of injury – he dealt with a kidney stone in Week 15 against the Dallas Cowboys. Hudson’s dedication to the Shield, and his teammates is undoubtedly an admirable characteristic. His actions on and off the field made him the recipient of the prestigious Commitment to Excellence Award, which is awarded to the player who most exemplifies hard work, and leadership all throughout the season. The most significant part of this award is that it’s voted on by the players, and Hudson’s grit didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates all season.
Quarterback Derek Carr
The former Fresno State Bulldog didn’t have his best year statistically, but he had a handful of outstanding performances throughout the year. In Week 7, Carr was named the FedEx Air Player of the Week after posting 417 passing yards and three touchdowns in a thrilling last second win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
No. 4 was also the Raiders’ nominee for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award for the second consecutive season, presented each year to an NFL player who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship. Further exemplifying his character on the field, Carr was also voted by his teammates for the Ed Block Courage Award, given to those who understand the importance of maintaining high character on the football field.
Running Back Jalen Richard
The Raiders created the Craig Long Award in 2014, presented to the player who exemplifies professionalism in collaboration with the media. Richard was chosen by local members of the media to be the recipient of this award. The second-year back totaled 275 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, 250 receiving yards, and a receiving touchdown.
Wide Receiver Amari Cooper
Similar to Carr, Cooper’s numbers were down this year in comparison to year’s past; however, No. 89 played an important role in the Raiders’ primetime win on Thursday Night Football in Week 7. Cooper’s 210 receiving yards and two scores were worthy of AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
**Kicker Giorgio Tavecchio
In his first official game as an NFL kicker, Tavecchio had one of the best games a kicker could have. The former University of California Berkeley Golden Bear became the first player in NFL history to make two field goals of at least 50 yards in his NFL debut. No. 2 finished his monstrous day by converting four-of-four field goals, two-for-two on PATs, and added five touchbacks on kickoffs in the process. His 14 points scored earned him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Linebacker Bruce Irvin
Irvin was the Raiders’ nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year, representing the best of the NFL’s commitment to philanthropy and community impact. The award recognizes a player for his excellence on and off the field.
The Raiders were unable to accomplish their goal as a team this season, but Hudson, defensive end Khalil Mack, guard Kelechi Osemele, and tackle Donald Penn earned Pro Bowl nods for their individual efforts. For the third consecutive year, Mack was selected to the Pro Bowl after totaling 87 tackles, 10.5 sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and a career-high five passes defensed.
Hudson, Osemele, and Penn were once again a dominant for on one of the best offensive lines in all of football. This is the second straight season in which all three have earned Pro Bowl honors. The unit was tied for third-fewest sacks allowed in the league, allowing just 24.