Rookie center Mason Cole, meet Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald

In his second career start, Cardinals rookie center Mason Cole will stare eye-to-eye with two of the best interior defenders of this era. Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Mason Cole got through the first start of his NFL career relatively unscathed.

The rookie from the University of Michigan allowed just one pressure, according to Pro Football Focus, about a month after taking over as the Arizona Cardinals' first-team center for the injured A.Q. Shipley.

His reward?

Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald.

In his second NFL start, Cole has the fortune of lining up across from two of the best defensive players -- not just in the league, but of this era. Donald is the reigning defensive player of the year with 39 career sacks one game into his fifth season. Suh has yet to win the league-wide honor but has 51.5 sacks entering his ninth season.

And Sunday in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Cole has to figure out a way to slow them down.

"Obviously it's a great challenge for all of us across the board, but as a rookie to go against two of the best guys to play this game at that position, you can't ask for much more," Cole said. "To have that kind of challenge and be able to hopefully prove yourself against these guys, it's going to be unbelievable."

Cole didn't start looking forward to this game during training camp, once he was promoted to the first team. Life was too hectic. He took his role day-by-day and week-by-week as he was forced into the starting lineup. He had an offense, calls and protections to learn.

This week, Cole said he watched just as much tape on Suh and Donald as he did on Washington's interior defensive linemen.

Instead of putting Suh and Donald on a pedestal, Cole has tried to take the every-man approach to facing the tandem.

"When it comes down to it, they put their pants on the same way, and they're just playing football just like we are," Cole said. "This whole process for me has been going back to remembering this is just a game. We're just playing football, the same game I've been playing since I was 5. So just go out there and do what I know how to do, do what I've been coached to do, and hopefully it all goes well."

Right guard Justin Pugh knows what Cole is going through.

He faced Demarcus Ware during his first game as a rookie with the New York Giants in 2013. Pugh and Cole haven't talked about facing Suh and Donald -- at least not yet. Pugh said Suh is a "physical player" and both Suh and Donald aren't big talkers.

"They just go out there and speak by the way they play," Pugh said.

"This game doesn't get easier. You're going against these guys week in and week out. There's always that guy on defense."

Thus far, Cole has been holding his own as he continues to figure out his new job.

The transition from Shipley to Cole was "pretty seamless," quarterback Sam Bradford said.

"I think it's a credit to [Cole]," Bradford said. "To have a guy, especially a rookie who hasn't played a lot in this system or really in this league, to come in and be able to do what he's done, I think it's really impressive. I think he's one of the smartest young guys that I've played with, just the calls and the way that he's able to see the game."

Cole's linemates have been helping where they can.

Pugh has worked with Cole on his cadence while stressing to over-communicate. Left tackle D.J. Humphries has tried to keep it light for Cole, but Humphries said Cole, already as a rookie, is the type of center that calms others down around him.

Cole may need to take a few deep breaths himself Sunday.

But it didn't take long for him to win over his fellow linemen.

"We tell him all the time, 'If you're wrong, you're wrong. We're going off what you say, so if you say that, you're not wrong because we're going to make it look right. That's what we're going to do. We're going to look as a unit together,'" Humphries said. "He's doing his thing."