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Rough night for A.Q. Shipley as center competition continues

It was a fairly rough night for Ravens center A.Q. Shipley.

During the Ravens' 27-23 preseason win over the Atlanta Falcons, Shipley got the start ahead of Gino Gradkowski in a competition that's expected to conclude following the third preseason game.

On the Ravens' first offensive play, Shipley was flagged for a 15-yard personal foul for a facemask penalty. In the second quarter, Shipley committed a false start penalty when the Ravens were trying to run their no-huddle offense.

Shipley was driven backward by Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux in the first quarter as Babineaux used leverage to knock down Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice for a 5-yard loss.

"I think other than two penalties, I had all my assignments right," Shipley said. "I made all the right calls. Other than that, I thought it was a pretty solid day's work. On the first one, I thought I had a solid block, but my hand got up in his facemask.

"They're making that an emphasis. Penalty on the first play started us off pretty bad. The other one, was just a bonehead mistake on my part. It happens. You just have to move forward."

Gradkowski is listed first on the depth chart after spending his rookie season being mentored by six-time Pro Bowl center Matt Birk, who retired following the Super Bowl. Shipley was acquired in May in a trade from the Indianapolis Colts for a conditional 2014 seventh-round pick.

"In preseason, you have to go out and work on your fundamentals," Shipley said. "You have to try and get everything that you worked on in practice all week and translate into the game. They came out in a different defense than we thought they would."

Gradkowski saw limited playing time in relief of Shipley.

"It felt good," Gradkowski said. "It’s tough only playing a quarter. That’s how the preseason goes, it’s hard to get into a rhythm.

"I felt pretty good out there. You just got to be ready whenever you get in there. This is a nice competition, it’s making us both better."

awilson@baltsun.com

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