AQ Shipley Gives Colts’ Offensive Line a Boost
8 Dec 2014
INDIANAPOLIS -- Khaled Holmes was supposed to be the Indianapolis Colts' starting center until an ankle injury on their first drive in their preseason opener not only took him out of the lineup for a month, it took him out of the running to be the starter again.

A.Q. Shipley, the player who started at center for the Colts in their first four games of the season, lost his job for an unknown reason and has patiently waited for weeks for another opportunity to get back on the field and play center.

Injuries along the offensive line forced Shipley and Holmes into action for the Colts against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. And both brought life to an offensive line that was doing a poor job blocking in the Colts’ 25-24 victory.

"It’s just a matter of time before your number is called," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "To do the right things when your number is called, circumstances happen and you go in and play well. That’s what real teammates do."

Shipley came in when starting center Jonotthan Harrison left the game with a stinger in the first half. Harrison’s injury came after Browns defensive end Desmond Bryant beat him to sack quarterback Andrew Luck, who fumbled on the play, and Cleveland recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown.

The only playing time Shipley had gotten in the eight weeks prior were on special teams, and he came in and played guard in the second half against Jacksonville on Nov. 23.

"My job is not to decide who starts," Shipley said. "I’m a competitor, so I of course I wasn’t thrilled about the demotion, but I was just keeping that positive attitude and being ready whenever they need me."

Holmes came in for guard Joe Reitz, who left with an injured ankle. Holmes played some guard while at USC.

The Colts gave Luck his best protection of the game after Shipley and Holmes entered the game.

"We feel confident whoever is in the game," left tackle Anthony Castonzo said. "We have to stop getting off to slow starts on the line and play like we know how. Once we do that, put it all together, we’ll be a scary team."

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