Bruce Arians: Jonathan Cooper won’t start, hasn’t earned it


When the Cardinals chose Jonathan Cooper with the seventh overall pick in last year’s NFL draft, he was viewed as one of the best guard prospects ever. But Cooper missed his entire rookie season with a broken leg, and now he’s not even starting as his second season begins.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said the reason Cooper is on the bench is simple: Ted Larsen has earned the starting job by out-playing Cooper in training camp and the preseason.

I don’t care about draft status,” Arians said, via the Arizona Republic. “I want to see the results on the field, and Ted Larsen’s way outplayed [Cooper].”

Larsen was a sixth-round pick of the Patriots in 2010 but was cut before the start of the preseason. The Bucs picked him up and he played the last four years in Tampa Bay, and after the Cardinals signed him this year, he played well enough that he’s now a starter.

As for Cooper, it’s too early to call him a bust. Arians said that the broken leg and a turf toe injury in the preseason have slowed Cooper down, but the Cardinals still believe in him.

“He’s going to be a heck of a player. It’s just a matter of time and taking the right approach with him and letting him get healthy,” Arians said.

Maybe some day Cooper will be a heck of a player. Right now, he’s not as good a player as Larsen.

23 responses to “Bruce Arians: Jonathan Cooper won’t start, hasn’t earned it

  1. Players not successful due to injuries aren’t busts. They are the consequences of a violent game and it’s a shame everyone isn’t smart enough to see the distinction.

  2. I don’t see how this is better than setting up a pretend competition, setting up the incumbent to fail, and then telling everyone the high draft pick “earned it.”

  3. Not all Cooper’s fault, but I have a feeling it will be a very, very long time before another OG is a Top 10 draft pick.

  4. I like this mentality from Bruce Arians. You have to create the mindset within the organization that even if you’re a first round pick or undrafted free agent, you have just as much of a chance to play as the next guy.

    When examining a player, all that should be considered is their ability, not their salary or draft slot.

  5. The Cardinal O-line was in serious need of help and so this pick made sense if you look at drafting according to need. In all fairness to Cooper, he was playing very well until he sustained a serious fracture on top of which turf toe (which sounds benign enough) can be debilitating for a professional athlete by itself. Add to those issues, Cooper is a big 300+ fella which makes the weight bearing part of the equation an even greater factor.
    This is typical Bruce Arians doing his best Dick LeBeau impersonation…lol! Most likely, the Cards will cave to fan pressure, cut Cooper and he will go on to find success with another team and the Cards willl continue to struggle with a weak O-line:( Credit for the demise of the defense and poor drafting should go to Steve Keim however:)

  6. I’m glad the Az decided to select him instead of Warmack at the time. Even though Chance Warmack is not “blowing it up” he still has been pretty good for us and most important has been heathly up til this point. During that time I was hoping the Titans would wait and get Wofford instead, I knew he would b pretty good at the next level

  7. Interesting that Warmack and Cooper have really not met expectations whereas Kyle Long and Larry Warford — drafted later — appear on track to be perennial Pro Bowlers. It really is a crapshoot, sometimes.

  8. The guy lacks heart and real toughness… Didn’t bring it to the next level… Graves and Whisenhunt set this team so far back Keim and Arians are cleaning up a huge mess ans so far the last two drafts have been VG

  9. I rememeber being upset he didn’t fall to the Cowboys…what a great turn of events.

    In that same draft, we didn’t draft a guard…but picked up a UFA by the name of Ron Leary who is a starter and future pro-bowler.

    Man I get tired of the ‘Boys winning.

  10. Coop and Ryan Williams are in the same category. Players who blew it up in OTA’s and looked like the 2nd coming….then only to get injured and never appear again.
    Coop IMHO got the turf toe from dragging his feet trying to compensate for his leg injury. In interviews he sure as heck doesn’t show any fire or fight in him…I follow the birds way too much and was really hoping Coop was going to solidify that right side of the O line. O well…next man up. I love the fact that Bruce says from day one “put your resume on tape” referring to every practice is taped…show you are worthy. Bruce not only says it but proves he’s a man of his word by putting the best players out there on Sunday. Look at how he cut Jay Feeley for a rook kicker. Everyone watching the preseason for the Cards could see that Cat was a better kicker…and he let Jay go. Rook or Vet he doesn’t care…1st round pick or undrafted he doesn’t care. PLAY and PROVE IT! I look forward to this season and glad it’s NFL season today

  11. Don’t know how you can label a guy a bust in his second season after missing the entire previous season from a broken leg. He just needs time to heal, he still can be one of the best guards on the Cardinals. But like Bruce is saying, what have you done for me lately and Larson is doing what is needed to be done right now.

    I think I will trust Keim and Arians, they took a team full of holes and losing right and left by the time Whiz and company left, then in their first season took the Cardinals to a 10-6 record in the best division in football, including the only team to beat the Seahawks at home for the past 2 seasons.

    I do worry, however, about the Cards defense. They had it all this year and then all hell broke loose. They upgraded their offense and then lost a lot on defense. Washington, considered one of the best LB’s in the NFL, suspended for the year, lost Dansby to FA, Dockett out with ACL tear, Minter has a serious injury that might require surgery and so on.

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