ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals’ A.Q. Shipley edges out Mason Cole for starting center job

Aug 30, 2019, 9:03 AM | Updated: 9:22 am

(Getty Images)...

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

After a preseason of debate, the Arizona Cardinals have their starting center.

Embroiled in an ongoing battle at the position, veteran A.Q. Shipley has been named as the starting center, beating out second-year pro Mason Cole, head coach Kliff Kingsbury said on Friday.

Cole, who saw reps at left guard this preseason, can play backup center and offensive guard.

“We feel like Mason is very valuable at a number of positions, whether it’s center or guard,” Kingsbury said. “He can get us through a game at tackle, even. So he’s maybe the most valuable O-lineman we have.”

For Shipley, it’s a return to the starting lineup.

The center’s 2018-19 season ended before it began, as Shipley went down with an ACL tear during the team’s Red & White Practice. Before the injury, Shipley had played and started in every game for the Cardinals since 2016. Cole took over the starting role to fill the void at center.

Cole, who was selected in third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, proved to be better than advertised. He went on to start in all 16 games last season, the only player on the offensive line to do so.

In the team’s 20-9 preseason loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday, Cole was given the highest grade on the offense by Pro Football Focus, receiving an 81.1.

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