Cardinals centers A.Q. Shipley (53) and Evan Boehm share a laugh during Saturday's practice.
Belief in A.Q. Shipley comes in tangible moments for Bruce Arians.
There was last year's Philadelphia fill-in for starting center Lyle Sendlein, a night when the Cardinals erupted for 40 points and 230 yards rushing. Before that, it was the year Arians was the interim head coach for the Colts and Shipley, filling in at right guard in the second half, blocked Ndamukong Suh while the Colts frantically passed their way to a comeback win.
This is who Arians sees when he sees who will likely be this year's starting center for the Cards.
"Everyone says he can't do it," Arians said. "I've been watching him overachieve for a long time. When you are smart and tough,
you have half the battle won in this league. He can overcome.
"Everyone says his arms are too short, he's too short … (but) he's been in this system a long time, he's not going to make a wrong call or misidentify a front for Carson (Palmer)."
For a player, it's what you want to hear from the head coach – especially a player trying to earn a starting role.
"It means the world," Shipley said. "You want your coach to believe in you. That's why you go out and play, to prove to them you can get the job done. I just have to keep proving it to him."
Arians said it wasn't necessarily a soft spot he has for an underdog as much as a "level of respect." He recalled former offensive lineman Brian Baldinger during Arians' days as an assistant in Kansas City, saying Baldinger probably shouldn't have been able to be a starter but "never got beat."
"I respect those guys who overcome some limitation with smarts and toughness," Arians said.
That obviously includes Shipley, who is ready to shed last year's backup role for a new starting job.
"I know I can play," Shipley said. "Where the chips fall they fall, but I am ready to play, I'm ready to be the guy and I think the guys are confident in me."
JENKINS BREAKS HAND; NKEMDICHE OUT A COUPLE WEEKS
Already missing Justin Bethel – on the PUP list with a sore foot – the cornerback group suffered another setback when veteran Mike
Jenkins broke a bone in his hand in Friday's practice. Arians said Jenkins would eventually return with a cast to play, but when that would be is yet to be determined.
Arians also gave further insight to the sprained ankle rookie defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche suffered during QB school earlier this week. Arians said it was a high ankle sprain and that Nkemdiche would probably miss two weeks.
Defensive tackle Red Bryant (Achilles) and tight end Jermaine Gresham (hamstring) also sat out Saturday.
LONG SNAPPER SEARCH MIGHT MEAN MORE FIELD GOALS
After Mike Leach's retirement, the Cardinals are looking for a new long snapper. That'll be a battle between undrafted rookies Danny Dillon and Kam Canaday.
Realistically, Arians knows he won't be able to tell much from either until preseason games begin – and that could impact how the Cardinals play some situations in those games.
"You have to see them out here under the lights," Arians said. "We may kick more field goals, long field goals, to put them in pressure situations. I hope we have a lot of those types of situations in the preseason."
ROSTER MOVE AT WIDE RECEIVER
The Cardinals made a roster move Saturday, releasing wide receiver Rico Richardson and signing wide receiver Franky Okafor. Okafor, an undrafted rookie, played at Southeastern Oklahoma State.
PADDED PRACTICE STARTS SUNDAY
After two days of "acclimation" practices, the first padded practice of camp is Sunday. Practice begins at 2 p.m. and is open to the public.