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Marcus Gilbert With Inside Track To Start At Right Tackle

Cardinals have several options at the position if needed

Marcus Gilbert will aim to reclaim the starting right tackle job after missing 2019 with a torn ACL.
Marcus Gilbert will aim to reclaim the starting right tackle job after missing 2019 with a torn ACL.

Marcus Gilbert has an extensive injury history over the past three years, playing in only 12 of 48 contests during that stretch.

The 32-year-old veteran missed his entire first season with the Cardinals due to a torn ACL, but if Gilbert can return to prior form, he will slot back in as the team's starting right tackle.

"We want to see how Marcus looks," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "He said he feels the best he's felt in a long time. Having all these extra months of rehab and not being forced back into anything may be huge for him. He has been a really good player in this league a long time, and if he can start off at that level, then he's going to slide back in there."

The Cardinals have several possibilities at the position if Gilbert, who re-signed on a one-year deal this offseason, suffers another setback or doesn't return to his previous level of play.

Justin Murray filled in capably last year after Gilbert went down and is a proven commodity within the offense. Josh Jones was drafted in the third round, and veteran Kelvin Beachum – who Kingsbury said can play left or right tackle -- was a late addition in free agency.

"We're excited to have some options, too," Kingsbury said. "Justin's development last year, drafting Josh, signing Kelvin – that's going to be huge. But we expect Marcus to slide right in there and do a nice job right away."

Gilbert said in February that he didn't consider retirement following the most recent injury setback.

"I still know I have a lot ahead of me," Gilbert said. "I don't want to hang it up too soon. I know what type of player I am."

The Cardinals relied on Murray, a waiver claim, to take over when Gilbert went down last season. The offensive tackle depth chart – which includes D.J. Humphries as the starting left tackle along with Brett Toth and Joshua Miles as young prospects -- looks much stronger as training camp approaches.

"We feel like we're in a lot better place this year to start the season than we were last year, and that's what you want to see," Kingsbury said. "You want to see that type of progression, particularly with your offensive line."

Images of the offensive linemen on the Cardinals' 90-man roster as training camp approaches