One of the most intriguing battles entering training camp this year will be the battle at center for the starting job. A.Q. Shipley battles rookie Evan Boehm, whom Arizona drafted in the fourth round in April, for the job.
While many fans believe Boehm will end up winning the job, Shipley is approaching the competition like it is his job, but that doesn't stop him from being a great teammate.
“I think I’m the guy; that’s the way I approach it,” he said this week via Arizona Sports.
He cited his performance last year when he had the opportunity to start. Going up against Philadelphia Eagles stud Fletcher Cox, he believes he played well. "We ran for 230 yards," he said. "When I get an opportunity to play, I can play."
But that mindset believing he is going to be the starter has not changed him as a teammate. Some players would be hesitant to help out the player who was essentially brought in to replace them.
Shipley is not like that. He has been very helpful to Boehm in learning the offense. Shipley says "it's kind of your job as the older guy to bring them along." He remembers being in Boehm's position as a young guy.
“I’m a team guy,” Shipley said. “If (Boehm) is making a bunch of mistakes or whatever, then it looks bad on the whole group. We all kind of try and bring the younger guys along, that’s just kind of how we do it here.”
It is great to see a guy like Shipley doing his part as a teammate. If he really feels like he is the guy to be the starter, he should help because he has the confidence he will start. At the same time, Shipley continues to be a player who looks good, but teams are constantly trying to replace him. In Indy, he played well and was replaced by a rookie in 2013. Then, after signing with Arizona, the Cardinals bring back Lyle Sendlein and he replaces Shipley, who worked as the first team center all offseason. Now the Cardinals drafted Boehm.
It would be hard to feel unappreciated, yet Shipley works hard and mentors the younger player.
We don't know who will end up being the starting center, but one thing is sure -- Shipley is a good guy to have in the locker room.