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Cardinals Might Not Name Center Until End Of Preseason

Notes: Veterans' play in preseason games still to be determined

Mason Cole (52) and A.Q. Shipley (53) are fighting for the starting center job.
Mason Cole (52) and A.Q. Shipley (53) are fighting for the starting center job.

When previously asked about a starting center, Kliff Kingsbury has said "we have two of them."

Eventually the Cards will have to whittle that down for the regular season. But Kingsbury said Tuesday he will likely wait until the tail end of August before making the final choice between A.Q. Shipley and Mason Cole.

"We want to give those guys ample time to compete and see who separate themselves," Kingsbury said.

Shipley, coming off an ACL tear suffered in training camp last season, said he is scheduled to have a practice off each week of the preseason. Cole, who as a rookie was handed the starting job after Shipley's injury, started all 16 games in 2018.

Each has something to prove. Shipley, at age 33 and coming off the major injury, is trying to show his body can still hold up. Cole wants to show he has gained strength since his rookie season and that his play isn't a dropoff from that of the experienced Shipley.

Shipley suggested a veteran presence at the position could help rookie quarterback Kyler Murray in recognizing defensive schemes Murray might not have seen in college.

At this point, the two are rotating in with the first unit in what might be one of the few legitimate battles for a starting position.

"In this league competition never stops, especially as a young guy," Cole said. "It's a league where you're always fighting for your position. Hopefully it goes my way."

PRESEASON PLAYING TIME FOR VETS

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones came out Tuesday and said he will not play in any preseason games, and he likely won't be the only star to take such a tact. But with the Cardinals, no decisions have yet been made.

Kingsbury said there have been early discussions about how much (if any) playing time certain players will get. Those decisions ultimately will be made closer to each game, he added, such as what the team will do with veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

"Fitz, some of those guys want to play and get that work," Kingsbury said. "We'll finalize those things once we get to it."

Kingsbury, whose team opens the preseason at State Farm Stadium on Aug. 8, reiterated the Cards won't show much in games that do not count in the standings.

"Just like most teams we'll be pretty vanilla," he said.

PANTHERS' OLSEN TO PLAY AGAINST CARDS, THEN ANALYZE THEM IN NEW YORK

Fox announced Tuesday that Panthers tight end would be the color analyst for the Cardinals-Giants game in New York Week 7 – a game highlighted by the fact it will be Patrick Peterson's first game back from suspension. It will be Carolina's bye week, so Olsen was available.

What makes it interesting is that, barring injury, Olsen will have played against the Cardinals just a few weeks prior. The Panthers visit State Farm Stadium in Week 3.

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