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Cardinals keep faith in Jonathan Cooper with move to right side

3/24/2015

PHOENIX -- In Mike Iupati, the Arizona Cardinals saw a better fit at left guard.

But that didn’t mean the end of Jonathan Cooper (pictured), the guard Arizona drafted seventh overall in 2013.

Cooper will move to right guard, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said at the NFL annual meeting at the Arizona Biltmore, ending his short tenure on the left side of Arizona’s offensive line.

"It’s no reflection on Coop in terms of disappointment," Keim said. "I’m still as high on Coop as I ever have [been] knowing that he’s got the chip on his shoulder, that he’s ready to prove people wrong.

"To me it’s more about strengthening an area that’s been a weakness for years."

In two seasons, Cooper has played in just 10 games with two starts because of injuries. He broke his leg during the third preseason game of his rookie year, which caused him to miss the rest of the season. He struggled to overcome the mental hurdles of returning from a devastating injury and lost his starting job.

In 2014, while trying to crack the starting lineup, Cooper suffered from turf toe and a wrist injury.

Keim believes that by adding Iupati and moving Cooper, Arizona has started addressing its offensive-line struggles in the running game, which were magnified last season.

"Now, all of a sudden, you have two of the better guards in the NFL who fit into this zone scheme that cannot only power, but they can also pull and play on the perimeter and they can do different things," Keim said. "I know [head coach] Bruce [Arians] is going to end up pulling the guards a little bit more and, obviously, [tackle] Jared Veldheer had a tremendous year for us last year and we may not be done."