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Joe Hawley versus Peter Konz: An Epic Battle of the Centers

Fact: Mike Smith should just have Hawley and Konz thumb wrestle for the center job

Kevin C. Cox

Epic! It's the only way to describe the much-anticipated camp battle between Joe Hawley and Peter Konz. Only one man will emerge as the victor, because there can only be one center.

Now I don't expect any amputated heads, but anything is possible when these two face off. For the first time in more than a decade, the center position is truly up for grabs.

So far, developments are scarce, but head coach Mike Smith said Wednesday that Konz, who spent a good portion of last season filling in at right guard for an injured Garrett Reynolds, will get most of his work at center.

“That was the plan when we drafted him, but we do have Joe Hawley, who has got more than 10 starts in the NFL, at that position,” Smith said, “so it does give us some flexibility.”

Flexibility is fine, but we're talking about two men who are very talented and very evenly matched. And that complicates the heck out of this conundrum. Neither man is a perennial pro bowler at this point. Heck, at this point, neither man has even demonstrated that potential. But as Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith have repeatedly emphasized, these guys were drafted for a reason.

Konz has looked better recently, improving markedly in the latter parts of 2012. But who can forget how rocky the first part of 2012 was for him? Meanwhile Hawley lost his job to Garrett Reynolds after a fairly successful 2011. Then he got caught taking greenies. Simply stated, both men have something to prove. Strike that, they both have a lot to prove. Neither man is incapable of starting, given where they were drafted. You don't typically draft players in the 2nd and 4th rounds expecting them to ride the pine, especially when they're offensive linemen.

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