A.Q. Shipley named cardinals' departure center


The battle of the most prominent starting position of the Cardinals has been decided.

Veteran A.Q. Shipley won the starting center post, beating Mason Cole. Shipley, 33, tore his ACL in the last preseason and missed the year, opening the way for Cole to start every game in the center as a rookie.

Shipley appeared to be the favorite once Cole was transferred to the left guard of the first team to replace Justin Pugh, injured, at the training camp. Since then, Pugh has returned, making Cole a Swiss knife replacement from the first week on.

"We think Mason is very helpful in several positions, whether it's a goalkeeper or a center," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "It can even allow us to get through a game at the attack. He is perhaps the best liner we have.

Cole has played in every game of his career since the beginning of his first year of high school. He said earlier this week that it would be odd not to play. However, he understood the situation and was ready to be a reserve if necessary.

"My whole process in football was:" What can I do to help the team? Cole said on Tuesday, "If this is the sixth man this year to be a substitute when the guys fall, then I'm ready to do it."


Veteran receiver Michael Crabtree warmed up with the Cardinals before Thursday's game in Denver, but did not play.

Kingsbury does not know he'll be fast enough to play the opening game next Sunday against the Lions.

"We like what we see so far, but it's a lot of setup and a lot of information to store in a few weeks – and the condition, etc.," said Kingsbury. "But he's a pro. He is very worried. I do not have an answer for you yet. We will have to get into the week and see where it is. "

The Cardinals' other outdoor receiver options could be KeeSean Johnson, Damiere Byrd and Trent Sherfield, depending on the composition of the lineup after the removals this weekend.

Johnson was a sixth round pick in the April draft, but turned heads quickly, and Kingsbury immediately considered a role for him.

"Whenever the ball comes in, it seems to catch it," Kingsbury said. "He's a guy we talked about all along the camp, just by his road racing skills and his natural ability to grab the ball and get out of the way. It's impressive and I think it will get better and better. "

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