Four-Down Friday: Will A.Q. Shipley Be The Starting Center For All Of 2014?

Posted Sep 26, 2014

Intro: What’s on the minds of those in Colts Nation? Will the Colts see Titans backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst on Sunday? Would the Colts entertain the idea of pursuing veteran Champ Bailey?

INDIANAPOLIS – You asked them and we answered them.

Here’s “Four-Down Friday” which is a weekly Twitter Q and A piece that will run every Friday.

This week’s installment of questions focuses on the Titans questions at quarterback, A.Q. Shipley’s long-term forecast at center, adding Champ Bailey and the Colts need for another pass rusher.



First, we still don’t know for sure the status of Titans starting quarterback Jake Locker and whether or not his wrist injury has healed enough to play on Sunday. If he can’t go, then the Colts will see nine-year veteran Charlie Whitehurst under center.

The last time Whitehurst started a game in the NFL, Andrew Luck was still at Stanford. Whitehurst has only started four games in his nine NFL seasons so there’s a lot of uncertainty in trying to get a gauge on Whitehurst. He has familiarity with Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt as the two were in San Diego last year together (Whisenhunt was the Chargers offensive coordinator). I wouldn’t agree with your statement on Pryor and Keenum though. Obviously, Pryor is a rare matchup thanks to his off the charts athletic ability (Whitehurst a totally different matchup). The Colts played extremely well against Keenum in three of four halves of football last year.



If healthy, and as long as the Colts offensive line can maintain its solid start to 2014, I see no reason to pull Shipley from the starting lineup. Continuity is so vital up front and the Colts have a chance of having their same starting five together for the entire first quarter of the season (the Colts didn't have the same starting five in back-to-back weeks at all during the final month of 2013).

In talking to Shipley earlier this week, he talks about how much more comfortable he feels being back at his “natural” position of center. Shipley played guard last year for the Ravens but it’s center where he received national accolades back at Penn State. With Khaled Holmes now off the injury list and back practicing full, the Colts will get a chance to create some quality depth in the interior and get more of an evaluation of their 2013 fourth-round pick.



Sounds like the Bailey hype is starting to build with team’s looking for secondary help early in 2014. While it remains to be seen if the Colts would even entertain the idea of pursuing Bailey, there’s two things to keep in mind here.

The 12-time Pro Bowler would warrant a pretty decent contract for a mid-season pick up and teams have to weigh if that’s worth it, considering the limited amount of reps he would probably be getting. Also, from a Colts standpoint, you have one of the better nickel corners in the league in Darius Butler, so I don’t see a pressing need at corner.



This seems to be a frequent topic each Friday. There’s no doubt that Ryan Grigson and his staff continues to explore all options for edge rushing help. However, that specific ability is so rare at the NFL level that the price tag is rather high in acquiring someone of that caliber, and those quality bodies off the edge are already stashed away on rosters around the league.

When asked recently, Chuck Pagano has reiterated the need to develop from within when it comes to outside linebackers. Erik Walden has had a very strong start to the 2014 season and finally got rewarded with results on Sunday. Against the Jaguars, Bjoern Werner was on the sour end of a penalty that erased his safety of Blake Bortles. Can the Colts pass rush build off its success down in Jacksonville?



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