clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Earl Watford at center appears to be more about bench flexibility than competing for a starting job

Arians would rather only dress 7 linemen on game days.

NFL: Preseason-Houston Texans at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

During OTAs for the Arizona Cardinals, we learned offensive lineman Earl Watford is getting a lot of work at center and surprising people at how well he is doing. Naturally, the fans see this and immediately jump to the conclusion he might just end up the team's starting center in 2016, moving past A.Q. Shipley and fourth round pick Evan Boehm.

Bruce Arians' comments on Tuesday make it seem a little different, although he didn't rule out his competing for the starting job.

"Position flexibility" is the reason for getting Watford the work at center. "We like to only dress seven offensive linemen on Sunday, so if you can play three spots, you have a lot of value in this league and you can play for a long time," Arians said. "So if he can handle the center position, hats off to him. It's better for him and we don't have to dress eight guys."

That was his first answer for Watford at center. Notice it was not how they think he can compete for the starting job.

That was a follow-up question. His response to whether he could compete was very Ricky Bobby-ish. "If you're a backup, you're a starter," he said.

No, that doesn't make sense, but it does. If he is a reserve on the team, he has a chance to start because of how the league goes. It is a physical game and players get hurt. There is the potential he could start.

Is he competing for the starting center position? It doesn't sound like it. That battle still appears to be only between Shipley and Boehm.