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Cole Toner Adds Center To Repertoire

Posted May 30, 2017

Notes: Boehm's job to lose at right guard; Palmer throwing; Heat not an issue

Center Cole Toner (61) and right guard Evan Boehm (70) line up during a recent snap at OTAs .

The Cardinals lost their Swiss Army knife when versatile offensive lineman Earl Watford signed with the Jaguars in free agency, but it looks like they have another in their pocket.

Second-year lineman Cole Toner has been working at center this offseason, rounding out his positional flexibility after playing tackle in college and guard as a rookie. Coach Bruce Arians prefers that his backups can move around, so Toner had a feeling he might be asked to add center to his bag of tricks.

“It’s the NFL, and guys go down,” Toner said. “I knew versatility would be good for me to stay on board and get a spot to play at some point.”

The Cardinals need a backup center for A.Q. Shipley since Evan Boehm is now penciled in as the first-team right guard. Arians gave Boehm a strong vote of confidence after Tuesday’s OTA when asked if the competition for right guard was wide open.

“No,” Arians said. “It’s Evan’s job to lose.”

While Boehm has progressed nicely over the past few months, he’s not satisfied.

“It’s awesome to hear, but at the same time, I’m still making mistakes that guys at a starting right guard spot can’t make,” Boehm said. “It comes with learning. It comes with getting to know your position. Technique-wise, I need to improve tremendously. When I’m watching film and I see something that we just worked on that I did wrong, it ticks me off.”

While Boehm is a shoo-in for a roster spot, Toner is battling several other offensive linemen for a job. Arians has been generally happy with Toner’s progress, although there was an issue with bad snaps from the centers on Tuesday.

“Other than snapping the ball over (the quarterback’s) damn head today, he’s been pretty good at center,” Arians said.

Toner said the inaccuracy hasn’t been a theme.

“I’m not worried about it,” Toner said. “I’ve had like two this whole camp. When you’re running a lot of plays, sometimes the snap gets away from you. Just more reps there, I’ll be fine.”

PALMER STARTS TO THROW

Carson Palmer threw passes during full speed action last Thursday, and did so again on Tuesday. Arians said his quarterback couldn’t wait to participate after greatly curtailing his reps earlier this offseason to rest his arm.

“He was like a little kid in a candy store,” Arians said.

Arians said the layoff didn’t affect Palmer’s rhythm.

“He looked really sharp,” Arians said.

Palmer will throw again Wednesday to see how he feels after consecutive days of practice. It’s yet to be determined if he will throw on Thursday or Friday this week as OTAs wrap up.

HEAT NOT AN ISSUE

The OTA sessions are toasty as the Phoenix summer gets closer to its zenith, but Arians said the heat hasn’t resulted in any injuries.

“We haven’t had, knock on wood, any problems whatsoever,” Arians said. “We have IVs for them right after practice, the ones that need it. They’re pretty smart about staying hydrated. And we’re getting done so early, it’s not really hot.”

The Cardinals wrap up their practices before 10 a.m.

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