Arizona Cardinals holding competition at right guard spot

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) Brian Winters
(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) Brian Winters /

The battle to be the starting right guard for the Arizona Cardinals will be fought by Brian Winters and Justin Murray this summer.

When the 2021 Arizona Cardinals training camp gets underway in late July, an interesting battle will be taking place for the squad’s starting right guard gig.

Brian Winters and Justin Murray, two veterans of the NFL, will be in competition for the last unsettled position on the Cardinals‘ offensive line.

There appears to be no clear-cut favorite for the blocking unit’s fifth and final job, which will make position coach Sean Kugler’s final decision even tougher than it normally would be.

What qualifications do the two Arizona Cardinals guards possess that could help them be named the starter?

Winters, a free agent pickup by Arizona back in March, has appeared in 105 NFL games, and he has 88 professional starts under his belt. An offseason workout by the lineman back in 2017 featured him attaching a harness to himself and pulling a 3,800 pound Ford pickup truck across the parking lot at Kent State University.

When asked if the story was true, Winters admitted that one fact being reported about the astounding incident was absolutely false. “The media thought I said the truck weighed 3,800 pounds, but it actually weighed 6,800 pounds,” Winters told SportsNet New York.

While Murray doesn’t have any outrageous workout tales in his background, the sixth-year pro has been a solid, versatile blocker for the Cardinals since he joined the franchise back in 2019. The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder started 12 contests at right tackle that year after Marcus Gilbert and Jordan Mills both suffered knee injuries.

Last fall, Murray saw action in 13 matchups for Arizona and he was credited with seven starts at right guard. Knowing a good thing when they saw it, the Cardinals inked the Cincinnati native to a two-year contract extension last October.

When the smoke clears after training camp, expect Winters to be named the starting right guard for the 2021 Redbirds. Murray will settle in as an experienced blocker who can serve as a backup at both spots on the right side of the offensive line.

As the saying goes, “competition brings out the best in every player.” The Winters-Murray encounter will be just one of several clashes that will take place to determine positioning on the team’s all-important 2021 depth chart.

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One thing’s for certain, the 2021 training camp for the Cardinals is shaping up to be one of the franchise’s most intriguing ones in years.