Back in training camp, when asked about the depth along the offensive line offensive coordinator Bruce Arians talked about the importance of needing at least seven guys up front.
Arians knew that over the course of an NFL season, the attrition up front usually forces multiple bodies into the fray throughout the 16-game schedule.
Center A.Q. Shipley has been one of those invaluable pieces along the offensive line, playing in 11 contests including starting a pair of victories.
“I think the biggest thing is that I understand the offense and I don’t understand just one position,” Shipley said on Monday night’s ‘Pagano Show.’
“If you understand the whole scheme you’re ready. I might not get as many reps during the week in practice but part of my job as a professional is to be ready to play center, guard, wherever they need me.”
When left guard Joe Reitz left the Lions game two weeks ago with a concussion, there was Shipley filling in the comeback victory.
This past weekend against the Titans, Shipley was back at his natural center position when an ankle injury sidelined Samson Satele.
“He’s always stepped up to the plate when needed,” Arians said. “He’s a very valuable guy now that he’s been able to play guard. We have a lot of confidence in him as our center.”
Shipley and fellow offensive lineman Jeff Linkenbach have been the most frequent interchangeable parts along the unit.
“It’s the closest group that I’ve ever been apart of,” Shipley said of the offensive line. “When one guy gets the opportunity, everybody trusts one another, everybody’s close with one another. When you get in the game with one another it’s just like the next guy picks each other up.”
On two separate occasions (Green Bay on Oct. 7 and Jacksonville on Nov. 8) Shipley has started at center and helped lead the Colts on two of their highest scoring outputs on the season.
His role might be fluctuating on a weekly basis, but Shipley has proven to deliver each time his number is called.
With three games remaining in the regular season, Shipley is itching for another chance to put together a complete effort in hopes to achieve goals that didn’t seem attainable by many pundits back in August.
“We control our own destiny and that’s half the battle. We know what we have to do,” Shipley said of the Colts positioning in the AFC.
“The belief in this locker room is amazing and we just have to keep doing that. We have to put 60 minutes together. If we put 60 minutes together, and hopefully it’s this week, it’ll be pretty special.”
Tags: A.Q. Shipley, bruce arians, Jeff Linkenbach, joe reitz, Samson Satele
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