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Could Mason Cole, Justin Pugh Stay Put On The Offensive Line?

With starting right tackle Justin Murray still a question whether he will be able to play Sunday in Tampa -- which would necessitate Justin Pugh remaining at right tackle and Mason Cole remaining at Pugh's left guard spot -- coach Kliff Kingsbury praised Cole's play Wednesday.

"We didn't skip a beat, sliding him in there," Kingsbury said.

Cole played every game in 2018, and it brings up an interesting concept -- even once Murray's knee is healthy, is there a scenario where Kingsbury would still keep Pugh at tackle and Cole in the lineup?

"We’re going to put the best five out there, so when (Murray) comes back, that’s a decision we’ll all talk about and figure out," Kingsbury said.

Murray had actually settled in with the rest of the line as the unit made strides forward since the beginning of the season. One of the questions will be how much upheaval the Cardinals want on the line at this point. Pugh is a natural guard -- he joked the other day about his shorter arms, which tend to hamper a tackle more often -- and he admittedly prefers to play there. (It's always possible that Max Garcia, now on the roster, could be considered at guard, but I'd guess he'll be a depth guy.)

The switch "wasn’t something I was looking forward to," Pugh acknowledged after the 49ers game, before adding he'll do what's needed to win games.

Kingsbury was asked if Pugh had let him know if playing tackle wasn't his favorite thing. Kingsbury chuckled.

"No, he did not let me know that," Kingsbury said. "But I appreciate you pointing that out."

Murray has to get healthy before any of this could even be considered. But it will be something to watch, especially if the Cardinals are forced to stay with the secondary lineup this weekend, and there is a second sample of the current lineup.

Right tackle Justin Pugh and right guard J.R. Sweezy (64) block last week against the 49ers.
Right tackle Justin Pugh and right guard J.R. Sweezy (64) block last week against the 49ers.

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