Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Bonding begins for left side of Cards’ line
By Josh Weinfuss
They hope the work they've done on Saturdays in the spring will pay off on Sundays in the fall.
Neither tackle Jared Veldheer nor guard Jonathan Cooper -- who'll combine to be the Arizona Cardinals' starting left side of the offensive line -- have played a regular-season game in an Arizona jersey. Veldheer was signed as a free agent in March and Cooper missed his rookie season in 2013 with a broken leg.
Cooper has been a staple in the Cards' locker room throughout his rehab but only recently has he begun building chemistry with Veldheer, his neighbor on the line, who made the move to Arizona a few weeks ago.
"He's been in there every time I've been in there," Veldheer said at the team's annual charity golf tournament. "We've gotten a chance to start forming that bond that you got to have when you're playing next to someone."
Together, they'll be charged with protecting the blind side of quarterback Carson Palmer, who was sacked 41 times in 2013. And while that's still a high total -- about 2.5 per game -- it was 17 fewer than Arizona allowed in 2012.
Chemistry is key for Cooper and Veldheer.
It doesn't matter what day of the week it is, they're working, even if it's the offensive line playing a round of golf together.
"There's some Saturday mornings where we could just come in on our own and both of us will show up and do some work together and talk a little bit," Cooper said.
Cooper, who broke his fibula in the third preseason game of 2013, said he's almost back at 100 percent. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians thinks Cooper is "looking great."
"For the most part I'm full go," Cooper said. "There's some movements that still irritate me a little bit, but for the most part I'm full go."