Cardinals look at versatility of C Mason Cole after Justin Pugh injury

Aug 5, 2019, 1:00 PM | Updated: 2:44 pm
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Second-year center Mason Cole remains in a dogfight with veteran A.Q. Shipley to win the Arizona Cardinals’ starting center position, but outside forces may take him out of that competition altogether.

A shoulder injury to left guard Justin Pugh deemed “minor” by head coach Kliff Kingsbury will keep the projected starter out potentially a couple weeks. Pugh injured the shoulder Saturday during the Red and White Practice, and following his departure, Arizona moved Cole across the left side of the line.

“Even at tackle, we moved Mason out there, get some reps there,” Kingsbury said. “He played it in college and has held his own. No question over these next few weeks, we have to see what we have up front when it comes to versatility.

“We’ve had him bump in and out (of tackle) throughout some of these practices. I think he’s a guy we’re still figuring out if he can survive out there — we have some really dominant pass-rushers in (Terrell) Suggs and Chandler (Jones), and that’s a tough look. He was game and he’s smart enough to go out there and pick it up.”

Cole is also first up at left guard with Pugh out. The Cardinals will get a look at the Michigan product there when he starts Thursday in a preseason opener against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Meanwhile, Shipley can continue impressing as he comes off an ACL injury suffered in last season’s Red and White Practice.

From what it sounds like, Shipley may have an edge on Cole at the center competition due to how much he can take off the mind of rookie quarterback Kyler Murray.

“Just his command at the line of scrimmage … it allows Kyler to focus on a lot of other things as a young player,” Kingsbury said. “I think that’s the biggest takeaway in watching A.Q. work.”

Murray’s durability

During Saturday’s scrimmage, Murray wasn’t shy about pulling the ball when he didn’t see a passing option. He busted up the middle multiple times.

Whistles blew the plays dead and tackling wasn’t permitted for any of the players.

It’s a wonder, then, how liberal Murray will be with his rushing abilities come real game action.

“If you have a dual-threat guy, that’s one of the real weapons of playing that style of offense is that if it does break down, things are usually pretty spread out, he can pick a seam and go,” Kingsbury said. “Hopefully that trend will continue. He’s got to be smart, know when the battle’s over, know when to protect yourself.”

Will Murray be tested with determining when to slide and learn how to protect himself Thursday against the Chargers?

In other words: Will he play?

“You’ll have to tune in,” Kingsbury said of the game that will be broadcast on NFL Network. “That’s good, right? Hype up the game.”

Two standouts

Kingsbury named two youngsters who stood out throughout camp and into the Saturday scrimmage.

Rookie receiver KeeSean Johnson and second-year undrafted cornerback Chris Jones look like rotation pieces, even if the latter is behind veteran Tramaine Brock and rookie Byron Murphy.

Kingsbury said Johnson has “made a ton of plays. I think the quarterbacks, all of them, have confidence in him. Does a nice job of coming back to the quarterback.”

Extra points

— Rookie receiver Andy Isabella (knee) and safety D.J. Swearinger (soft tissue) could potentially return to action in some capacity this week, though Kingsbury is not sure either will play in the game Thursday.

— Kingsbury is not concerned with kicker Zane Gonzalez, who missed three 40-plus yard field goals during the scrimmage Saturday. The head coach pointed out that one of those misses might have been a make; there was not a referee placed under the pylon that the ball may or may not have been kicked over.



Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt checks his face after running through a drill during practice Wednes...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals’ J.J. Watt feels for Texans fans, ready to face former team

J.J. Watt undoubtedly has a ton of love for the city of Houston. Come Sunday, however, moving to 7-0 is the biggest thing on his mind.
1 day ago
Zach Ertz of the Arizona Cardinals looks on prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at First...
Kevin Zimmerman

Keim: Cardinals pursued Zach Ertz trade feeling they ‘had to make a move’

General manager Steve Keim felt that his Arizona Cardinals had no choice but to be aggressive after losing starting tight end Maxx Williams.
1 day ago
Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones interacts with Arizona Cardinals tight end Darrell Dan...
Arizona Sports

Texans-Cardinals injury report: Arizona TE Darrell Daniels, DT Rashard Lawrence out

The Cardinals are nicked up at tight end, on the offensive line and at linebacker as they prepare for Week 7 against the Houston Texans.
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals linebacker Kylie Fitts (49), Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones (55) and Card...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals OLB Chandler Jones out of COVID-19 protocols, Fitts’ year over

Cardinals outside linebacker Kylie Fitts said on Instagram that his season is over, though it is not clear what has led to his year ending.
1 day ago
The Arizona Cardinals prepare to take the field for a game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEne...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals OL making up for Hudson absence; Green to Ertz: ‘Play fast’

TEMPE — Not only did the Arizona Cardinals have to deal with a handful of coaches and players testing positive for COVID-19 when they took on the Cleveland Browns last Sunday, they did so without starting center Rodney Hudson, who was placed on the injured reserve with rib and shoulder injuries ahead of the action. […]
2 days ago
Cardinals DL Jordan Phillips looks on during practice Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, in Tempe. (Tyler Drak...
Arizona Sports

Report: Cardinals restructure Jordan Phillips’ deal after Zach Ertz add

In order to make the trade for TE Zach Ertz happen, Cardinals GM Steve Keim had to pull some strings with the team's salary cap construction.
2 days ago
Cardinals look at versatility of C Mason Cole after Justin Pugh injury