"Gritty" A.Q. Shipley has his boss' respect

Steve Wilks doesn't easily hand out compliments. He will be much closer to the vest with those -- and criticism -- than his predecessor ever was. So when he does say things, it's easier to take note. One of those times came Thursday. There's been a lot of discussion about whether rookie third-round pick Mason Cole could push A.Q. Shipley for the starting center job, and while it always looked unlikely -- Shipley has been the one constant of a constantly injured line the last couple of seasons -- the way Wilks talks about his starting center certainly makes it sound like Shipley is entrenched.

"The guy that really anchors everything is A.Q.," Wilks said. "I think Shipley does a great job just with his communication, identifying the mike (middle linebacker), setting us up in the right protection. Everything starts with him.

"Everybody talks about size, length, this and that … He’s gritty, he’s dirty, I mean, I love him." 

Like the rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, Cole is projected to be the Cardinals' long-term answer at center. But Cole's time isn't here yet, not with the impression Shipley has left on the head coach.

C A.Q.Shipley
C A.Q.Shipley