The battle coming at center

Posted by Darren Urban on April 6, 2015 – 11:30 am

Since 2008, every single position on the offensive line has had some kind of competition at one point for the Cardinals — except at center. That’s where Lyle Sendlein manned the job, and there was never really anyone around to truly push the status quo. That’s changed, now, with Sendlein getting released (after being asked to take a paycut and being informed that indeed, there would be a competition this year.) A.Q. Shipley was signed as a free agent and more importantly, the Cardinals have Ted Larsen — who started at guard all last season but did a solid job in for an injured Sendlein during the preseason in 2014.

The door remains open for Sendlein to return if he wanted, but he’ll explore all his other options for now. If he were to return, it’s probably safe to say one of those vets won’t be with the team by the time final roster cutdowns happen. There is a chance a center/guard could find his way on to the team through the draft or as an undrafted rookie, although the team still has last year’s UDFA Anthony Steen who would be in that role. (There were times when Jonathan Cooper took some pre-game snaps as the third center last year, but I highly doubt he will be in the mix. For Coop, it’s about winning that right guard spot.)

That the Cardinals decided to shift things around at center isn’t a huge surprise, especially when it comes to the money. The team now has significantly more invested at guard after signing Mike Iupati (plus a seventh-overall draft pick contract with Cooper) and while Bobby Massie is playing out a fourth-round rookie deal at right tackle, Jared Veldheer is making big bucks at left tackle. You can’t pay them all, and center was a spot they were looking to address. If I had to guess at a starter right now, I’d guess Larsen. (Bruce Arians declined to say who it would be as of right now.) We are a long way from seeing what direction that storyline goes come September.


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28 Responses to “The battle coming at center”

  1. By Jacob on Apr 6, 2015 | Reply

    Lets get Todd Gurley young Aidren Peaterson

  2. By Jacob on Apr 6, 2015 | Reply

    whats the best pick for the cardinnals Draft pick

  3. By Jacob on Apr 6, 2015 | Reply

    Todd Gurley i say for the Draft

  4. By Richard S on Apr 6, 2015 | Reply

    I remember a couple of years ago when the first string and the second string center were both hurt and the 3rd string center was on the sideline practicing his snaps and having problems with that and then he came in the game and on the first snap the QB and Center combined to lose a snap. That was depressing. Good health to ever wins the job.

  5. By sbrown on Apr 6, 2015 | Reply

    it was tough to see Sendlein released, but it was a “business” decision. Lyle was a solid center for the past eight seasons, playing injuried for most of the past two seasons. Wish him the best good health and maybe a roster spot soon.

  6. By Scott H on Apr 6, 2015 | Reply

    This Adrian Peterson situation is frustrating. Seemed like the ugly pot ( the relationship between AP and the Vikings ) was really starting to boil a few weeks ago, and then….nothing. Well, nothing besides hearing more speculation about the Cowboys as a likely landing spot for him.

    Dang it! Can never find a good rumor when ya need one…..

    Meanwhile, AP actually needs to be re-instated by the NFL, so….more waiting.

  7. By Chris Lewis on Apr 6, 2015 | Reply

    I don’t always believe in need first in the draft but if there’s a really good pass rusher at 24, we should grab him because I think a pass rusher is our biggest need at this point. Also, a RB would be nice early in the draft but I’m sure we could pick up a decent RB in the 2nd or 3rd round as they are plentiful this year.

  8. By azdesertrat1953 on Apr 6, 2015 | Reply

    This article is about the Center and the ones the Cards have or the one that may come back or the Center that may be drafted, maybe.

    Yep that’s what what it says at the top, “The Battle coming at Center.”

    No where in this article is there anything about RB’s, that I could find.

    GO CARDS!!!.

  9. By Leeskicitizen on Apr 6, 2015 | Reply

    It wouldn’t shock me at all if the Cardinals drafted Cameron Erving in the 1st round “if” he is available (I personally think the Rams will take him). He is the only center of his caliber in the entire draft and would complete an elite offensive line that would be in the top 4 in the NFL.

    An offensive line consisting of Veldheer, Iupati, Erving, Cooper, and Massie would give the Cardinals the premier offensive line they have been missing for over 20 years, and a line that, if healthy, would stay intact for at least 3 years. It would instantly turn the Cardinal’s offense into the lethal force that would be the equal to the defense.

  10. By Manny Simo on Apr 6, 2015 | Reply

    The draft is deep with running backs though I would like Gordon if avaliable. But if we could get Dupree in the first I would. I think that we could pick a good running back in the second or even third. BA and the GM have a great eye for talent.

  11. By Coach K on Apr 6, 2015 | Reply


    Gurley’s upright hard running style is going to keep him on I.R. most of his career. He is a red flag health risk. If he doesn’t learn to run with his pads lower, he is in for a very short career in the NFL.

  12. By shannon robinson on Apr 7, 2015 | Reply

    Like a lot of us I too thought we’d sign Stefan Wisniewski until it was clear he wanted $3M a year on average. Now he’s had surgery on his shoulder so he may be more of a candidate for a one year “prove it” deal that our GM is now famous for with Cards fans. Larsen was the starting Center for the Bucs before he signed with the Cards so he knows what the job requires. If we draft a lineman I’d wish for Ali Marpett who is a Steve Keim clone if I could imagine one. I have an expectation that A Q Shipley may be a pleasant surprise and a tough guy even though he’s getting backup money. My favorite on the roster for OC remains the Redhead, Anthony Steen from that National Championship offensive line of Alabama. Roll Tide. I know this much: Coach Goody now has the parts to build this machine to his demands and they will be formidable.

  13. By Andy Kw on Apr 7, 2015 | Reply

    Let’s get David Johnson (3rd RD) or Jay Ajayi (2nd RD)

  14. By Chuck 1 on Apr 7, 2015 | Reply

    By Leeskicitizen,

    “An offensive line consisting of Veldheer, Iupati, Erving, Cooper, and Massie would give the Cardinals the premier offensive line they have been missing for over 20 years”.

    I can agree with 2/5th of what you wrote about “the premier offensive line”.
    Tha only “premier” linemen are Iupati and Veldheer.
    Erving is unproven.
    Massie was a turnstile against several teams, especially the Falcons. Cooper has not shown that he can be considered a “premier” Guard.

  15. By Scott H on Apr 7, 2015 | Reply

    RE: Nowhere in this article does it say anything about RB’s

    Last I heard, the offensive line has something to do with RB’s. And vice versa.

  16. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 7, 2015 | Reply

    Coach K,

    Can’t disagree with you more regarding Gurley.

    I remember the short careers of Eric Dickerson, Eddie George, Adrian Peterson and yes, Marshawn Lynch. Oh wait, their upright running styles didn’t end their careers?

    In fact, most experts compare Gurley more towards Lynch than Peterson.
    Gurley is the real deal. He is a lock in round 1 and will not be there at 24. But if he was (and I didn’t trade for Peterson) , I would draft him in a second.

    A true difference maker. A guy who will make his team better right away.

    Last year I went on record saying the Texans should have taken Blake Bortles #1 overall, believing they are a QB away from being a really good team. They went Clowney and are still in search of a QB.

    This year, I say the Jags should take Gurley. If you can move down and let someone grab Marriota and then pair Gurley in the backfield with Bortles, you are now moving in the right direction. Look for the Jets or Browns to come up and get Marriota and the Jags to take Gurley. The jags will be foolish not to make that move.

  17. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 7, 2015 | Reply

    Chuck 1,

    Agreed. I am not sure where all this optimism over Cooper is coming from.
    The 7th overall pick has started 2 games and in one of them, he got Stanton injured for the year.

    Now he is a premier guard? Let’s see if he can bet out Larsen, Watford, or a draft pick.

    As for Massie, if we ran the ball more with a guy who threatened the defense, Massie would have more of a chance, because DE’s wouldn’t have such a chance to pin their ears back. Plus, he might take some spring out of their step drive blocking them. But I do agree, he is challenged with speed. Von Miller would be in the HOF if he got to go against him every game.

    Shipley is a journeyman much like Larsen. Guys who do a good job filling in but are not long term starters.

    I like several olineman in this draft starting with Ali Marpet and BJ Finney

  18. By rod (Eddie Goldman RD1) on Apr 7, 2015 | Reply


    I was watching your Cardinals Underground podcast the other day. And chance you start publishing them on YouTube so I can just use my TV to watch?

    PS. Your set looks like a room in the original Star Trek show…veddy niiize!

  19. By Darren Urban on Apr 7, 2015 | Reply

    Rod —

    RE: YouTube

    Probably won’t happen in the short-term because YouTube defeats the purpose of drawing eyeballs to the site.

  20. By JohnnyBluenose on Apr 7, 2015 | Reply

    It remains to be determined when and/or where Adrian Peterson plays again. It certainly seems like Peterson wants to play again. But if I was Peterson and if I had as much money in the bank as he should have, I would tell the NFL and the Vikings to kiss my butt and I would not play again. No doubt, Peterson badly mistreated his young son but he has been humiliated, ridiculed, ostracized and vilified to such an extent that I do not understand why he would want to be a part of any group or organization that so publicly turned its back on him.

  21. By Coach K on Apr 8, 2015 | Reply


    Gurley’s health history speaks for itself. IR, IR, IR. To think he will suddenly stay healthy in a more physical NFL is insanity. Gurley is not built like Lynch who is shorter and streamlined. Marshawn run with pads low and shoves defenders off his body. Gurley is taller and thicker in the legs but does not use his hands as weapons. He runs much taller than Marshawn and relies on his legs. Totally different running style. Marshawn runs like you stole his food and he wants it back and will get to it no matter what he has to do.

    When you watch Gurley on film, he is always high, never has his pads low. Takes clean shots to his thighs all the time. In every Georgia game I watched, several times in the game he takes a big shot and is seen limping off the field.
    It’s because of his running style. He leaves himself exposed by running upright.

    Comparing him to Lynch is simply not accurate. Lynch keeps his pads low and will use his hands and forearms to deliver a blow first. He also has the ability to spin on contact while gaining yardage. No two styles could be more different.

    Lynch wants to punish defenders by hitting them first.

  22. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 8, 2015 | Reply

    Coach K, scouts compare him to Lynch.

    In this article, an NFL scout says he is the best back to come out since Peterson did in 2007. (including Lynch)

    NFLDraft Scout also compares him to Lynch

    So, there are several out there comparing him to Lynch and even saying he is going to be better. Brian Baldinger went as far as to say he is the best player in the draft.

    Not sure what you are seeing, but it isn’t the same thing I and many NFL Scouts and experts are seeing.

  23. By apache5555 on Apr 8, 2015 | Reply

    I believe the Cardinals should be more focused on a pass rusher or running back with 1st pick. Erving wud be a great pick but not 1st pick. Running back Gorman or Coleman of Indiana wud be a good 2nd pick. Might also think about cornerback to take cros spot.The powers will come up with the right picks. FAITH…

  24. By Cactus Jeff on Apr 8, 2015 | Reply

    There is no way Cooper and Massie will play on the right side of the line together. That would be a gigantic disaster.

  25. By CORMAC on Apr 8, 2015 | Reply

    Melvin Gordon


    2014—— 343 2587 7.5 — 88 29
    2013—— 206 1609 7.8 – -80 12
    2012——- 62 621 10.0— 60 3
    2011——- 20 98 4.9 14 1

    Todd Gurley


    2014 123 911 7.4 51 9
    2013 165 989 6.0 75 10
    2012 222 1385 6.2 55 17

    Jay Ajayi

    2014 347 1823 5.3 74 28
    2013 249 1425 5.7 71 18
    2012 82 548 6.7 71 4

    Ameer Abdullah

    2014 264 1611 6.1 57 19
    2013 281 1690 6.0 62 9
    2012 226 1137 5.0 45 8
    2011 42 150 3.6 24 3

    Tevin Coleman

    2014 270 2036 7.5 90 15
    2013 131 958 7.3 75 12
    2012 51 225 4.4 17 1

    T.J. Yeldon

    2014 194 979 5.0 31 11
    2013 207 1235 6.0 68 14
    2012 175 1108 6.3 43 12

  26. By brinnc on Apr 15, 2015 | Reply

    Thanks for posting the stats on the RB’s it lets posters see all significant RB’s and their stats at the blink of an eye. Not sure why Coleman or Abdullah and Yeldon are on there though, they are Ellington clones and we dont need that kind of back at all, if you could post the same stats on Johnson/Northern Iowa and Cobb/ Minnesota, I know I would be forever grateful, as im sure many other posters would as well, it makes comparing them much easier, actually helps me lean even more towards Ajai/Boise St

    If the Cardinals would just trade out of 1st round for extra 2nd and 3rd round picks my life would be complete, at least until next year around this time!!! LOL! With two picks in second and two picks in third rounds we could draft
    Not necessarily in that order!

    Anyone have any insight on Redding, where is he best suited to play looking at his size, almost 320lbs I would think NT but with the amount of tackles and sacks he has it looks as if he was playing DE (or maybe both, split time between NT and DE) any posters have any insider information? (I refuse to pay ESPN one damn penny for their insider reports!! LOL!)

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