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Cardinals lose veteran center A.Q. Shipley to torn ACL

Not long after taking the reins from Bruce Arians, new coach Steve Wilks cited the Cardinals' overhauled offensive line as the strength of the team in 2018.

That assessment has come into question with Wilks' announcement Monday that starting center A.Q. Shipley is out for the season after tearing his ACL in a weekend practice.

A seventh-round draft pick back in 2009, Shipley drifted around the league before establishing himself as a 32-game starter over the past two seasons in Arizona. Not just the shot-caller at the line of scrimmage, Shipley had also become the leading voice in his position group.

The veteran center's loss is no minor issue for a head coach whose primarily offseason mantra was, "Everything we do is going to start up front."

If there is a silver lining for Wilks, it's that his front office had the foresight to pull the trigger on Michigan's Mason Cole as a third-round pick and center of the future.

Cole's development on the interior will have to be expedited, as he spent three of his four seasons with the Wolverines at left tackle.

Wilks wasn't wrong to highlight his offensive line's potential to transform from a liability to an asset this season. But that optimism should be tempered by the knowledge that this group will enter the season with just as many questions as answers.

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