On the mend, Cooper’s great expectations

Posted by Darren Urban on December 5, 2013 – 9:37 am

Jonathan Cooper won’t play this season. We’ve known that since August. And it has been easy to make the leap — given the injury — that the Cardinals will essentially have two first-round draft picks in 2014, with whomever they choose with their regular first-rounder and the return to the field of Cooper. There is no question that, for a guard, Cooper will have high expectations going into next year.

He knows this, sitting his his locker these days, eating lunch with teammates and finally free — mostly — of the boot he had been wearing since breaking his leg in the preseason.

“Yeah, there are (expectations),” Cooper said, “but, I mean, there always was. All I can do is go out and play to the best of my ability.”

It’s hard not to play a little what-if with Cooper. Had he stayed healthy, he would be the left guard. Daryn Colledge would have stayed on the right side and Paul Fanaika would be on the bench (and realistically, it would have been interesting to see what the roster makeup would have looked like too, because an available Cooper would have meant someone else would have to go.) The Cardinals think their offensive line would have been better, and that’s hard to argue. Then again, Cooper does not play left tackle, and his play would probably not have changed the Levi Brown/Bradley Sowell storyline much.

But he is a key piece. And as the Cardinals move forward to 2014, he is a (delayed) step toward reshaping the line, a line that needs to get better. As the Cardinals continue to figure out what lies in the future of the quarterback position, another possible year of Carson Palmer would be buoyed by better protection up front.

In the meantime, Cooper rehabs. He has been in the weight room a few weeks now, and while he is thrilled to be out of the boot he was forced to wear for so long (pictured below), it hasn’t completely disappeared from use. “Under certain circumstances I still wear it just to be safe,” Cooper said.

He’s also come to grips with watching his team from the sideline, and waiting to see just what kind of impact he can make on this offensive line.

“It was a definitely a lot harder early on when the injury was fresher,” Cooper said. “Now, I understand. I just have to prepare for next year and keep moving forward.”


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34 Responses to “On the mend, Cooper’s great expectations”

  1. By SteveG on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    High expectations?

    Gross understatement…..

    The play on which he was injured was SO good… far downfield looking for someone to hit…

    Keep Carson clean and he is damn good…give him a real dominating running game? Well, all is possible then…

  2. By Oscar on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    Knowing Cooper will be anchoring our offensive line next year is exciting. We have a nice one two punch with Mendenhall and Ellington. I’d like to see the Cardinals draft A Strong Safety or either a LT with our 1st pick … 2nd go QB & 3rd and go with whatever we didn’t choose with the first pick. It still hurts to think about those two INT’s Palmer under threw against the Eagles. The first M Floyd would’ve easily scored a TD.

  3. By Andrew Maples on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    Id expect them to use their first 2 picks on a defensive player that can cover TEs and a QB

  4. By Eric G on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    Keep recovering Cooper, looking forward to seeing you on the field next year.

  5. By TommyT on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    This off season will be absolutley crucial in obtaining a left tackle in FA, such as brandon Albert if he decides to leave or forced out. That way, we can secure a QB in the first and go from there om maybe a project LT in Senetrel Richardson later in draft

  6. By Dynosoar on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply


    I haven’t heard a lot regarding Sowell. How’s his production? I believe we went a couple games without a sack, but haven’t verified it. Is his production improving? He’s starting now, what are his chances of starting next season as well? Thanks for the updates.

  7. By Darren Urban on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    Dyno —

    RE: Sowell

    There will be a story on the homepage later today.

  8. By Aaron on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    I have one worry though. That cooper won’t be the same after the injury. Does anybody know if this is one of those injuries that just won’t go away? Will it plague him his whole career?

  9. By Darren Urban on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    Aaron —

    RE: Broken leg

    Why would it plague him?

  10. By Andrew Maples on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    Big guys have been known to have lingering effects when returning from broken legs… not really scientific but there are some instances to go off, especially with speed and overall footwork.. both of which are huge when talking about Coop… I honestly hope he gets back to 100% and reaches his potential but even if he is never the same, I still think he is good enough to adjust and be an elite OG (just in different ways)

  11. By Steve on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    Darren: Do you see Bradley Sowell being the starter at LT next season?

  12. By Darren Urban on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Sowell

    I would expect the Cardinals to try and upgrade. We’ll see how it shakes out.

  13. By D on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    Free agent Left tackle? I don’t see it. I also don’t see Colledge, Dockett, Larry F back next year with their Current deals -especially if PP gets one of the highest Cornerback deals in the NFL this offseason (yeah, they could wait until the following offseason but that wouldn’t taste good for PP). Don’t forget Campbell and Palmer are taking a decent size of the cap too. Then they have several current starters that will be UFA in a few months..

  14. By Matthew Thomas on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    I Hope Cooper get Fully Recover after this Season. If he does then we’ll have a chance.

  15. By Dynosoar on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    Thanks Darren. looks like you, Steve and I are all thinking alike. Great minds and all that… Well… 2 out of 3 isn’t bad, unless you’re talking schedule.

    I’ll be looking forward to the read, thanks for the heads up.

    As good as the Rams look on paper and as good as their pass rush has been, there record isn’t that good. Man, that Chiefs Broncos game was a fun one to watch. Probably because I could enjoy the game and not care about the outcome.

    I’d love to see Palmer throw 5 TD’s in a game. We need Cooper back for that kind of protection.

  16. By Dynosoar on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    Tomlin, $100,000.

    Wow! That’s 2.5 years salary – before taxes. I just don’t live in the same world.

    Flaco’s response was interesting. “I don’t like to see anyone get fined. Players, coaches, anyone.”

    It’d be great if ref’s would just get the calls right at the time. Both calls and no-calls. Then we could become the No Fines League. But I don’t think that’s in Goodell’s nature.

    I may have a tin foil hat, but wasn’t it interesting that the only way the point spread in last years SB could be covered was for the QB to run out of bounds. No other way that I could see. Long time out before the play went into affect. May have taken a while to come up with the solution.

    I laughed all that week at the sheer brilliance of the point spread saving play.

    $100,000. Wow.

  17. By Andrew Maples on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply


    You think Lyle wile end up in the ring of honor at some point… the man just grinds hard week in, week out, season in, season out… doesnt really get his dues either

  18. By Darren Urban on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    Andrew —

    RE: Sendlein

    A lot can happen but I would doubt it.

  19. By WhoTHCares on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    I think if we make the right choices, which i’m sure we will make with our new regime. We will be able to have home game advantage untill the SB hehe

    offcourse we will never know, but it feels good to know it will be there (Fan from Belgium) I’d hope we can get a good OT, SS, TE, Speedy WR, CB
    And offcourse our QB to groom, i feel like Mettenberger would be a great pick?
    His looks like a perfect fit for Arians scheme, he’ll need a year or 2 behind Palmer, he tore his ACL so needs it too and Arians wont let Stanton go anyway i’d think
    Knowing all of that, Mettenberger could drop to the 3rd or 4th round, maybe worth the pick for Arians

  20. By georgiebird on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    Let’s go easy with Jonathan Cooper. I hope he becomes a solid guard and plays for 10 years. He’s not going to be the second coming of Gene Upshaw or John Hannah.

  21. By Darren Urban on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: Second coming

    Maybe not. But how would you know?

  22. By Raxan on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    Re Cooper recovery.

    If he didn’t get ligament damage there is no reason he couldn’t recover 100%. I fell off of a ladder and landed hard on pavement. Broke my leg in three pieces and required plates and screws. Unfortunately the way it landed it pushed my leg bone down two inches below the knee and tore ligaments. In four months I was walking around without any support. I could walk fine but because of ligament damage can’t run that well or push off the bad leg without discomfort. With a young athlete like Cooper with no ligament damage it is reasonable to expect 100%

  23. By louis on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    you all are dreaming for a perfect team it will never happening in 100 years.

  24. By John The Draft Guy on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply

    I can not imagine why Palmer would not be the starting QB next year. Although he is not Peyton, he is a solid QB.

    The system is not an easy system and he has improved over the last 5 games throwing 11 TDs, to 4 picks, 1450 yards, 66% comp ratio. and most importantly a 4-1 record.

    The oline is the issue as it has been for years. A good QB makes the oline seemed improved, just like an explosive back makes them look better.

    But a closer look over the last 5 games shows Palmer not only under constant pressure but sacked 15 times.

    It is amazing that he has put up the stats above under that kind of pressure.

    Am I opposed to drafting a QB? From the outside, looking in, it would seem that would be a wise move for the future. But for 2014, there is no doubt in my mind that Palmer should be our guy.

    As for LT, it would seem that an upgrade is in order. With saying that, I have no idea how Sowell is viewed. Is he playing above his talent and the cards are lucky to get what they have or is he just scratching the surface and they believe he will get much better? Either way, investing in another LT would be wise.

    There are several LTs in the draft and possibly a few in FA.

  25. By jasonc on Dec 5, 2013 | Reply


    I know this is going to sound awful…but, the Mettenberger injury could actually benefit the Cards. I personally don’t like him as much as the pundits did and I wouldn’t have selected him in the first round at this stage of the game (maybe with an outstanding senior bowl and combine) however, now that he could fall to the third round I would totally roll the dice on him. He can take his time to heal because we have Palmer and Stanton, plus he gets to learn the offense and take reps for a season or two, and it gives us the added benefit to improve our roster with picks 1 & 2.

  26. By John The Draft Guy on Dec 6, 2013 | Reply

    it was interesting reading the link. Especially the Rams QB situation.

    It is possible, as the season plays out, that the Rams could have the number one pick (via the Redskins).

    They traded the #2 pick away (RG3) because of faith in Bradford. Would they trade away Bridgewater also? According to Fisher, he is happy with Bradford and believes he is the guy.

    But if they take Bridgewater, what they really got was Bridgewater and two first rounders for RG3. What a great trade.

    If they stick with Bradford and If they make a similar trade for Bridgewater, essentually they traded the #2 pick to the Skins (RG3) for 6 number ones.

    Can you say executive of the year?

  27. By John The Draft Guy on Dec 6, 2013 | Reply


    I agree with what you are saying (ala San Fran with the tailback they got last year)

    I am not sold on Mettenberger though. Sounds like you aren’t either.

    I would not mind going into the draft with that approach . I like AJ Maccarens and Aaron Murrey in round 3 also.

  28. By John The Draft Guy on Dec 6, 2013 | Reply


    Breaking down the draft, there are so many directions we can go in round one. Lets say we pick around 15- 20.

    I have a feeling that Taylor Lewan will be the 4th LT come draft day. With that, I could see AZ taking him. Pairing him with Cooper on the left side would be awesome.

    Of course, I could see them retooling up front on the Dline, as Dockett is due 8.5 mil and may force his release depending on what the front office can do. A guy like Stephon Tuitt would come in and play DE in our 3-4.

    The cards have been in need for dynamic passrushers for years. Abraham has had a very good year but he is old. Acho and Okefer are still question marks. Bernard has played well at times. But what about grooming a pass rush specialist like Vic Beasley? Pure speed off the edge ala Robert Mathis.

    My surprise pick? How about two?

    How about Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks. Pure speed at Wr to stretch the field like BA likes. Roberts may not be back and Goldin and the other speedster are track guys. Cooks is this years Tavon Austin and Percy Harvin.
    With so much attention paid to Fitz and now Floyd, BA could get creative with him.

    Second surprise, TE from Texas Tech, Jace Amaro. The Jordon Cameron, Antonio Gates, Julius Thomas kind of TE, who won’t block much but could be a matchup nightmare.

    It will be interesting but as you can see, we can go a lot of directions.

  29. By VaCardsFan on Dec 6, 2013 | Reply


    “Don’t fear failure.
    Not failure, but low aim, is the crime.
    In great attempts it is glourious even to fail.”

    -Bruce Lee

    A perfect team may never happen but it would be a crime to try for anything less.

  30. By jasonc on Dec 6, 2013 | Reply


    I wasn’t sold on Mettenberger as a #1 but I’d take him as a third round pick and let him learn for a year or two. I watched him play against Alabama and he has a great arm and made completions when Alabama had NFL coverage so his guys weren’t “college” open but the types of windows you have to throw into in the NFL. I’m not high on Aaron Murray because of his inability to win big games and I’ll admit that it’s hard for me to objectively rate McCarrons because I dislike Alabama so much.

    I think Amaro would be a mistake in my opinion because he’ll be a #1 and not a major need. I like the Cooks pick but here are two more names that might be possibilities L’Damion Washington from Mizzou and Tevin Reese from Baylor. I’m nervous about Vic Beasley because of his size but Kony Ealy, Michael Sam and Trevor Reilly are guys I like. I thought before the season that Dockett would be a cap casualty but with the way he has played this year I think Keim will try to get something worked out but Ra’Shede Hageman from Minnesota is a guy I like as a replacement if that can’t happen.

  31. By John The Draft Guy on Dec 6, 2013 | Reply


    I agree about Hageman but he may be one of those guys too early at 20 and will go before a late 2nd round.

    Beasly size- I would make the same comment about Robert Mathis coming out.

    Ealy – won’t he be a 4-3 end? I know we have Shonnessy at the same size, but he flips back and forth from a 3-4 OLB to a 4-3 end. I’m not the D-cord so it would be interesting.

    Sam- I need to watch more Missouri. He didn’t jump out at me last time I watched.

    Reilly is highly rated but I have watched zero Utah games. But from what I hear, he is not that explosive.

    Amaro need – That would depend on your opinion of Housler. With two big WRs, our TEs will find favorable matchups. Amaro will exploit those matchups. Housler flashes and disappears. Tough evaluation on him.

    McCarrens- all he does is make all the throws and lead his team to win after win. Because he is on such a loaded team, it’s hard to evaluate him. He has such a great running game, oline and is usually clean in the pocket. But he sure can perform in that offense.

    Murray – I never been high on QBs under 6’1″ until Russel Wilson showed me Brees isnt the only guy. I can’t say he is the guy I really want, but he could end up being a very good NFL QB. I liked him more last year.

  32. By jason on Dec 6, 2013 | Reply


    Excellent point about Mathis/Beasly you’ve put some of my nervousness to rest with that info. I had to look it up first though, lol. As far as Ealy, I wouldn’t have assumed that Shaunessy could play OLB and I think Ealy is more athletic and explosive than he his. Not sure if we keep Dock that we can re-sign Shaunessy…another crazy off season thing that has to play out first. If you watch Sam in the Florida game he looks dominate but that might because he plays across from Ealy, haven’t seen Mizzou since then, but I’ll be watching him this weekend. Amaro….I know I sound like a broken record here but if you go back and review Arian offenses the TE is not a huge weapon and with our needs @ LT, SS and eventual replacements for aging vets Dock and Abraham then I feel TE isn’t a “need” especially in the first. Now a guy like CJ Fiedorowicz from Iowa is a guy I’d keep an eye on. Plus Quandre Diggs from Texas all but shut out Amaro when they played…how good is he?

  33. By Coach K on Dec 6, 2013 | Reply

    I really like his former Tar Heel teammate Left Tackle James Hurst. He could be available in round two. That would be exactly what the Cardinals need.

  34. By jasonc on Dec 8, 2013 | Reply

    Dear Santa,

    Could you please have Greg Robinson enter the draft and make him available when the Cards pick, that is all I want.


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