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Colts Name A.Q. Shipley Starting Center

Colts head coach Chuck Pagano today named A.Q. Shipley the team's starting center for week four against the Titans.

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You voted, and Colts head coach Chuck Pagano listened.  More than 2,100 of you voted in a poll on who the Colts' starting center should be, and 80% said it should remain A.Q. Shipley.

On Wednesday, Chuck Pagano definitively said that it will be Shipley starting this Sunday.  While Joe Philbin in Miami might be totally mishandling the quarterback controversy that he created, Pagano isn't allowing any such confusion to exist - Shipley is his starting center for this week.

"I love the way they're coming together," Pagano said of the offensive line, according to the Indianapolis Star. "Anytime you can have back-to-back games and move the ball the way we moved the ball. . . I think the chemistry and the continuity of that group, I think they're gaining confidence with every single snap and every single game. They're going to continue to get better."

In the past, Pagano has held to the mantra that players wouldn't lose their starting spots due to injury.  This, however, is different, Pagano says.  Khaled Holmes never really had the time to establish himself as the starter in the first place, getting injured on the first drive of the preseason.

The team claimed Shipley off of waivers from the Baltimore Ravens a week before the season began, and then Shipley, who played with the team in 2012, stepped right into the starting lineup in week one.  He remained the starter in weeks two and three, and the impressive play of the offensive line has been impossible to ignore.  While the players certainly are playing well, a big part of the success has also come as a result of the continuity and consistency the line has had in the first three weeks.  Chuck Pagano and quarterback Andrew Luck have both talked about how huge that continuity has been, and the more they talked about that the more it became clear that it would be hard to justify replacing Shipley at this point.

Pagano didn't offer insight as to who will start after week four, but he was clear that he likes the way Shipley and the line have been playing and that he's not going to mess with a good thing.  It seems likely, then, that as long as Shipley and the line continue to do well that Shipley will remain the team's starting center.  And that's the right thing to do.

"I think getting back to my natural position at center has been big for me," Shipley said Wednesday, via  "It's where I feel comfortable. It's where I played in college. It's where I succeeded in college. It's where I succeeded in the NFL."

Last year with the Ravens, they tried to make him a guard.  This year in the preseason, they had him playing only guard.  Shipley described it as "weird" because he has always been a center, but he said that, "It's not my call. My job is to do whatever they tell me to do."  Regardless of what he thinks about how they used him in Baltimore, he's happy to be back at center, and he's happy to be back with the Colts.

He's playing well so far this season, and he has been good enough to earn the starting spot for at least one more week - and this time, it's not because of an injury.  It's because he's truly earned it.