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A.Q. Shipley Has Been the Arizona Cardinals Best Center

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Despite the concerns from the fans, the Arizona Cardinals starting center has been very good in the preseason

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals have done a great job through the Steve Keim era of giving Bruce Arians talent to work with.

Their relationship works well because of the ability and desire to “stay in their own lane” and work together, understanding that each has a separate and unique job.

Sometimes that manifests itself in Bruce Arians playing one of “his guys” over a draft pick, the Ted Larsen over Jonathan Cooper debacle of years past. It may not have been as much as Larsen was an Arians guy, as he was a guy that Coach Arians trusted more than Cooper.

That brings us to the here and now, where we are seeing something similar occurring, with Bruce Arians sticking with his guy, A.Q Shipley over the beloved rookie Evan Boehm.

There has been a near consensus from fans that Boehm has been better through the preseason, even garnering high praise from the analytics site Pro Football Focus after his first game.

The reality is a little bit different though.

Through the preseason, A.Q. Shipley has been the better player, per Pro Football Focus, here is what their Arizona Cardinals analyst Jordan Plocher shared with me:

Boehm preseason totals 172 snaps, -1.3 overall, +0.3 pass block (o sack, 1 hit, 3 hurries allowed), -2.9 run block.

Shipley preseason totals 48 snaps, +1.0 overall, -0.3 pass block (0 sack, 0 hit, 1 hurry, think grade is slightly negative due to giving up a quick hurry but also having a small sample size), +2.2 run block.

Shipley, in a smaller sample size, has played extremely well. He is helping create a strong run blocking offensive line, and making the Arizona Cardinals offense, one of the most potent in 2015, even more balanced in 2016.

Maybe there is a reason Arians has been keeping Shipley the starter.