All-Access with Cole Toner – July 24: Getting comfortable and ‘extra intensity’
During training camp, Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Cole Toner will join Doug and Wolf every morning on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station, to give an inside look at the daily grind of camp and a personal view of how his 2017 preparation is coming along.
When an athlete can perform more than one task, that versatile player is often described as a Swiss Army Knife.
On the Arizona Cardinals’ offensive line, Cole Toner is that guy.
Now in his second NFL training camp, Toner can do pretty much anything asked of him when it comes to line duties. Toner played both guard and tackle during his award-winning college career at Harvard. He’s also listed as the Cardinals’ backup center, behind A.Q. Shipley.
Despite having to learn the nuances of each position, Toner has a comfort level at one.
“I’d probably say I’m most comfortable at guard, but I’m getting there at center,” Toner said Monday morning. “I’ve played center for about 10 snaps in my whole life — a little my freshman year in college, before I moved there in OTAs and starting playing the one there. It’s a process, it’s a lot of reps. You can study the playbook, you can study film, but you don’t really know how counting slots goes, you don’t really know how the defenses look.”
Toner will have an opportunity to show what he’s learned at center when the Cardinals put the pads on for the first time Monday afternoon at University of Phoenix Stadium. He’s looking forward to the challenge.
“There’s definitely some extra intensity on the first day with pads, because everybody wants to make a good impression on the coaches — and that’s me included, I’m excited for it,” Toner said. “However, we’ve had two practices so far that were not padded, but they’re absolutely full speed, full tilt. Guys are battling anyway.
“As an offensive lineman, it’s better when you get pads on, for me especially, because it’s more true football. You have more leverage on guys, you can grab pads, you can push a little better, that kind of stuff.”
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