Sunday, July 28, 2013
Jonathan Cooper's deal perks up Arians
By Mike Sando
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was standing at a podium lamenting rookie guard Jonathan Cooper's absence from training camp when the unsigned first-round draft choice was closing a deal with the team.
Before long, a team executive walked to the podium with a piece of paper featuring the information Arians had been hoping to hear.
"I just got word that Jonathan Cooper is done and is on his way," Arians announced.
A couple seconds passed.
"He still missed time," Arians said. "I'm excited to have him in and watch him run a conditioning test -- in front of the whole team."
That follow-up comment, punctuated with only a small chuckle, reflected the frustration head coaches feel when forced to deal with situations largely beyond their control.
A reporter had asked Arians a few minutes earlier to reveal when Cooper might start to fall behind.
"Last week," Arians had said.
Arians was already in a somewhat cranky mood regarding his offensive line. He said he was "very disappointed with the play up front" after the line suffered too many mental errors in practice.
Improving the line has been a top priority for the Cardinals. Cooper's selection with the seventh overall pick demonstrated as much. Like most coaches, Arians appears to be motivating through comments he makes publicly. That seemed to be the case Sunday.
"Not much" was the answer from Arians when he was asked how much he liked what he's seeing from the line. There were too many mental errors, he said. The team was scheduled to put on pads later Sunday, a first during this camp. Arians thought offensive linemen welcomed putting on pads more than players at other positions. He suspected putting on pads might raise the level of play up front.
"I think they have enough pride that they are going to fix it," Arians said. "I think they are anxious to get pads on."
Cooper will join the Cardinals for practice once he arrives and passes a physical exam.
"I'm extremely pleased and happy," Arians said.