A.Q. Shipley and Mike McGlynn Will Battle for Center

Written By Bob Cunningham On Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Can Mike McGlynn direct this offensive line in '10?

With Jamaal Jackson tearing his ACL so late in the season, it makes it very unlikely that he will be ready to play by mid-September. Because of that, the Eagles went out and signed a very young, but very promising, A.Q. Shipley from Penn State.

Shipley will certainly get a shot at the spot, but he's got some competition other than Jackson's recovering knee. The Birds have kept around Mike McGlynn, a center/guard the team drafted before the 2008 season, for just such an occasion.

He's a guy who the Eagles really like and would like to eventually see him mold into a starter for this team if they need him. Well, they need him now, and he will get every opportunity to take the job.

It's going to be a very interesting battle to watch because not only will we be watching to see who is physically better than the other guy, but also to see which guy can pick up the offense the fastest and make all the line calls necessary.

In that aspect, McGlynn has the obvious upper-hand. However, he's not a natural center like Shipley. So the two each have their own obstacles to overcome and it could come down the final few preseason games before a decision is actually made.

The wild card guy here, of course, is Nick Cole. He's an unrestricted free agent and really is more of a guard, but if neither guy can pick up the offense, or the Eagles don't have much faith in either guy picking up the offense, Cole could find himself with a new contract and a tentative starting spot.

But then with Cole, there's the question of whether or not Stacy Andrews will be ready. If he's not, then Cole will have to slide over to right guard -- a spot at which he seems much more comfortable, and is certainly much more effective.

So to summarize, this is going to be an enormous headache for the Birds unless one of these young guys can step up and show that they can take the reigns of this position and this offense.

Or, of course, we could hope for the miracle that Jackson is the fastest healer on the planet.

Either way, the Birds are going to need a small miracle at the center position, or it is going to be a headache all year long. It's going to have more of a negative impact than anyone thinks at this point, and for those who doubt it's a real problem, just take a look at the second half of the Broncos game, then the two Cowboys games.

Let's have a full season of that!

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