Breaking down Cooper’s opener

Posted by Darren Urban on August 10, 2014 – 1:02 pm

If it weren’t for that pesky broken leg, Jonathan Cooper’s training camp in the spotlight would have been one-and-done. The left guard would have been looked at all last camp as a No. 1 draft pick, and he would have settled in to the background by now. But he did break his leg and he did lose his rookie season, and right now he’s been up-and-down in camp as he tries to come back.

So everyone was watching Coop in the preseason opener Saturday night. He knew it. “Nerves were running at an all-time high,” Cooper said, adding “I definitely have a lot of room to improve.”

Cooper ended up playing the entire first half, mostly with the second-unit offensive line. That was 40 total snaps, including those that had penalties. The last was a kneel-down at the end of the second quarter. Three times Cooper moved back into pass protection but with a three-man rush he had no one to block. Here is a breakdown of his plays. I don’t know exactly what he was being asked to do, obviously, and I can’t speak directly to his technique. He got burned early by J.J. Watt sack but otherwise it looked to me that Cooper did just fine in his first work since last preseason.


1st-n-10: Cooper pulls, hits LB Brooks Reed. Does job, although Andre Ellington gains one yard.
2nd-n-9: Watt beats Cooper badly, shoving Cooper left as he sacks Palmer.
3rd-n-16: Cooper tries to help LT Jared Veldheer on Jadaveon Clowney. Not really needed as Palmer fires 25-yard completion.
1st-n-10: Helps Veldheer on Watt on four-yard completion, which was negated by Texans penalty.
1st-n-10: Engages defensive tackle Tim Jamison and holds up fine on 38-yard pass to TE Rob Housler.
1st-n-10: Pushes forward on quick screen to Larry Fitzgerald.
2nd-n-6: Helps Veldheer on Watt, not really needed on wheel route TD pass to TE John Carlson, which was called back on penalty.
2nd-and-16: Nice push on Jamison as Ellington runs for six yards.
3rd-n-10: Takes on Watt one-on-one. Watt definitely pushes Cooper back, but Coop holds up long enough for 10-yard completion to Jaron Brown.
1st-n-G: Handles Jamison on seven-yard TD slant to Fitz.


1st-n-10: Takes care of Jamison decently, although a non-factor in a six-yard Stepfan Taylor run.
2nd-n-4: Pushes out to second level on run, but run play blows up when TE Darren Fells can’t hold a block.
3rd-n-9: Helps Veldheer on Clowney double-team, plenty of time for Drew Stanton to hit John Brown for 24 yards.
1st-n-10: Helps double-team NT Jarrell Powe. Brown draws 39-yard PI.
1st-n-10: Handles Jamison on a quick six-yard pass.
2nd-n-4: Gets OK push on Jamison, with help from Veldheer, on three-yard Taylor run.
3rd-n-1: Good pass pro on Jamison on two-yard pass play to RB Robert Hughes.
1st-n-G: Standoff with Powe, and Taylor rolls up the back of Cooper’s leg. A scary sight after last year. Coop gets up.
2nd-n-G: Tries to chip Clowney on a dive block. Misses. Taylor gains a yard.
3rd-n-G: Holds off Jamison just long enough for Stanton to hit Jaron Brown for a five-yard TD.


1st-n-10: Unneeded in pass pro.
2nd-n-10: OK blocking Jamison but the whole line has breakdown and Taylor may have made mistake bouncing outside for yard loss.
3rd-n-11: Fine in pass pro against Jamison. Incomplete.


1st-n-10: Helps on DT Ricardo Mathews at the snap, tries to come over and take unblocked LB Jeff Tarpinian late. Too late. Taylor no gain.
2nd-n-10: Takes out Tarpinian on quick five-yard pass to Brittan Golden.
3rd-n-5: Rides Jamison out of the play on an 11-yard pass.
1st-n-10: Locks up DE Jared Crick but Taylor loses a yard.
2nd-n-11: No one to hit in pass pro on eight-yard gain.
3rd-n-3: Helped some on Jamison in pass pro on Stanton incompletion.


1st-n-10: Locks up Jamison in pass pro on 14-yard pass to TE Darren Fells.
1st-n-10: Struggles with Mathews as pocket collapses everywhere and Stanton barely gets off an incompletion.
2nd-n-10: No one to hit in pass pro. Walt Powell gets 45-yard catch.
1st-n-10: Blocks Jamison but run play to other side.
2nd-n-6: Pulls right as screen pass goes back to the left on some nice misdirection. Gains 10.
1st-n-10: Negates Jamison. Nine-yard run comes back on Niklas hold.
1st-n-20: Not great against DE Keith Browner but enough — but Fells drops a TD pass.
2nd-n-20: Handles Crick, but Cards called for offensive pass interference.
2nd-n-30: Locks down Crick on incompletion.
3rd-n-30: Handles Crick again on 22-yard pass to John Brown.

Again, it’ll be interesting to see how Arians describes Cooper’s night. But it was a good start to the preseason for a guy who just needed to get back on the field.


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Posted in Blog | 21 Comments »

21 Responses to “Breaking down Cooper’s opener”

  1. By Eric on Aug 10, 2014 | Reply

    Now that’s what I’m talking about Darren! Great job!! We fans appreciate all the time you spent breaking down Coop’s play. I’m on my 3rd replay watching it on my DVR. Keep up the great coverage!!!

  2. By John The Draft Guy on Aug 10, 2014 | Reply

    Frankly, this whole offensive line needs time to gel.

    Veldheer is new, Cooper new, Sendlin is out (and Larson is not Sendlin,) , Faniaka is back, but then Massie was a backup last year and not playing with the first unit.

    Then they had to handle JJ Watt and Clowney. They kept Palmer clean and when Palmer has a nice pocket, you saw what he can do. The run game needs work, but again, this unit needs time.

    I think Cooper is doing alright but the fact the he is the #7 overall pick from last year, his expectations are very high. He has a long way to go to justify that pick, but as a guard on this line, he is fine.

  3. By Raxan on Aug 10, 2014 | Reply

    Nicely done Darren insightful breakdown

  4. By T. Stone on Aug 10, 2014 | Reply

    He is essentially a rookie. And if there is not a vet that can play better than him on our roster right now we need to get one. This is not the year to let the rook get his lumps. He had a year to prepare mentally, I hope it is just a physical thing ( getting beat by Watt) that is his biggest problem.

  5. By br in nc on Aug 10, 2014 | Reply

    First off, Thanks for the awesome play-by-play, very detailed, I probably got 5x as much out of that then I would have watching the game or watching a tape of it!! Kudos Sir!
    Second, doesn’t seem like Cooper did so bad, considering he is
    A: basically a rookie, in his second pre-season action.
    B: mentally he probably has some fears/doubts about his leg holding up(although willing to bet when he got rolled up on the same leg, in a weird way that had to help his confidence that the injury is healed.
    C: reading through really quick, couple of things stand out, JJ Watts beat him a couple of times ( first one pretty badly the way I read it), well guess what…welcome to the club Coop, Mr Watts has been known to make many an NFL player look downright stupid on the field, and it didn’t sound like he got schooled that bad by the best, or one of the best D-lineman playing the game today! Also, “Clownhead” got him once? twice? Whichever…he is the #1 overall pick in the draft (and even though it is quite obvious I don’t care much for him, hence the nickname I have bestowed on him!!) can’t deny he is very talented, and could turn out to be an absolute beast, again no shame there Coop!! I think once he shakes the rust off, gets a Tad bit more mental confidence with the leg, he will be just fine, as will the Left side of the line!
    One thing I noticed reading through, on just those series Cardinals were called for quite a few penalties, looks like 2-3 touchdowns were called back, hopefully the penalties is something that they can correct throughout preseason (most teams don’t look so flawless the first few preseason games, I think it is normal to have a large amount of penalties, plus I believe it was you that noted there is a new penalty, or they are going to start enforcing an already existing penalty a lot more this year??) On the bright side, if there is one for the rash of penalties, of the 2 or 3 (whichever it was?) penalties that negated those touchdown, seems to me all the touchdowns that were called back were caught by TE’s if I’m not mistaken, can anyone verify that?? That is a heck of a lot of promise and positive potential, looks as if the TE’s are going to be a weapon that opposing defenses will have to deal with!!!

  6. By Dynosoar on Aug 10, 2014 | Reply

    Baltimore = 23
    San Francisco = 3

    Denver = 21
    Seattle = 16

    New Orleans = 26
    St. Louis = 24

    Houston = 0
    Arizona = 32

    I know this is pre-season and I know Houston had the number 1 pick last year for a reason. This was a solid performance. Last year our pre-season defense was the only one to shut out an opponent and so far, we’re still the only ones to do so.

    Admittedly I only saw highlights and the graphics as it wasn’t broadcast here, but I like what I saw.

  7. By georgiebird on Aug 10, 2014 | Reply

    Cooper is such a big key for the Cards. After one of the best preseason performances in the past 60 years, two questions still remain unanswered:
    1) Can the Cards run the ball?
    2) Can the Cards stop the run?
    That’s why the Cards’ over/under is 7.5

  8. By krehbieo14 on Aug 10, 2014 | Reply

    I think Coop did a respectable job in his first preseason game since last years injury. With support and continued reps, he will make positive strides and be the player that we drafted in the first round last year. I’m pulling for him!

  9. By LadyBird04 on Aug 11, 2014 | Reply

    It appears the Cards 0-line has passing down, now they need to get better blocking for our rb’s. When we get our running game going, it’s going to be very hard for other teams to stop the Cards.

  10. By Dynosoar on Aug 11, 2014 | Reply

    Pre-season or not, we’re at the top of our Division. We just have to stay there.

    I don’t know about Minnesota, But Cincinnati put up 39 points and still lost. Potent offense, but porous defense. Will be an interesting game especially with our starters getting more play time that week.

    Here’s to no injuries for us and for our opponents. Home Field advantage, we began the path the right way.

    Tom Moore quote regarding his offensive line in Indy doing the same thing for 14 years and still being successful “We both know where the airport is, but I know who’s going to get there first.” It seems something in the transcript was missing, but I think I got the idea.

  11. By azqfan on Aug 11, 2014 | Reply

    Georgiebird, Are you kidding me? If you think us being able to stop the run is a big question you are nuts. If that is a big deal, we will definitely make a deep playoff run. No reason to think we will not be able to stop the run just as good as last year. DWash was fast, but neither he nor KD were known for run defense, they were better in pass coverage and blitzing using their speed.

  12. By Matt on Aug 11, 2014 | Reply

    Is there some point to you doing this? We all watched the game, most DVR’d it. Why do we need you describing his every play? The only things I wanted answered in this article you didn’t even mention… What happened on that play where he appeared to re-injure his same leg and the announcers were going ohhh noooo not again?? I see he isn’t practicing and listed as a toe injury. Is that what happened on that play? Did he aggravate the old injury?

  13. By LG on Aug 11, 2014 | Reply

    J.J.Watt is a future hall of famer. cooper only let him get by him one time that’s a dam good job to me looks like a starter to me.

  14. By Cactus jeff on Aug 11, 2014 | Reply

    Top 10 pick should be a beast. Cooper not even close. Can you imagine Darren’s play by play, if the Texans played Watt and Clowney on Coopers side on every passing down.
    Drive 1.
    2nd n 7 watt pushes Cooper 5 yards back and sacks Palmer
    3rd n 17 Watt and Clowney stunt, Clowney beats Cooper and sacks Palmer

    Drive 2
    2nd n 8. Watt swim moves Cooper and drills Palmer.
    3rd n 8. Palmer gets happy feet and throws incomplete.

    Cooper is a small G so to be a beast he has to be an explosive athlete and clearly he is not that after the broken leg. Time for plan B BA. Darren, can the backup center play G?

  15. By Darren Urban on Aug 11, 2014 | Reply

    Cactus Jeff —

    RE: Backup center

    Yes, Larsen can play guard.

  16. By br in nc on Aug 12, 2014 | Reply

    Cactus Jeff
    Don’t you think he should have a little more time to shake off the rust, as well as gain confidence that his leg will be ok? 5 series in the first preseason just doesn’t seem like nearly enough time, especially to pass judgement on a rookie. ( or what is essentially a rookie) I was force fed UNC games living here in NC, and I can tell you he was dominate his entire career here, as well as agile and fast, seemed like every running play Cooper could be seen either leading the way or downfield second or third level (as in 15 to 20 yards downfield) granted due to Fedoria’s hurry up type of spread offense you really didn’t get to see a lot of pass blocking, or if you did it was usually short, quick underneath passes, but when they would have to go deep can’t recall Cooper having a weakness that turned into a trend, he was solid in every aspect of pass blocking from what I saw, plus not every team we face has a Watt & Clownface! Given more time I think you will end up dining on some crow. (LOL)

  17. By chrisgaer on Aug 12, 2014 | Reply

    Hey Darren,

    As Coop is basically still a rookie, I didnt expect something else. Just take a look at Warmack or Decastro. Two highly praised young OGs that struggle mightily at the start of their careers. Overall OL (Fisher, Joeckel, etc) commonly seem to have a rough first yr.

    Someone you would be interested to hear about Coop would be CC himself. He played against him last offseason and this offseason, so i would assume that he can tell us wether Coop has degressed or not. Could you ask him Darren? Plz.

  18. By Darren Urban on Aug 12, 2014 | Reply

    Chrisgaer —

    RE: Campbell

    I did. He said he has been fine. But I wouldn’t expect a teammate to say anything else.

  19. By BigAl on Aug 13, 2014 | Reply

    By Cactus jeff
    Wow, man are you really a Cards fan? Or are u a negative Nancy? Yeah, I think that’s what u r…You have ranted negatively about Coop! Over & over! Back off & give the man a chance sir!

    Oh! & stop posting non truths! ie.
    Drive 2
    2nd n 8. Watt swim moves Cooper and drills Palmer.
    3rd n 8. Palmer gets happy feet and throws incomplete

    First off, where/how do u come up w/this trash! Palmer only played one series!!!
    And was 5 for for 84 w/a TD!!!
    Yes, Watt blew Coop up & got a sack on 2nd play of game…

    You apparently for whatever lack of intelligence don’t like Coop! Back off! Were talking about a 300plus lbs man, still less than a year ago from his injury, blocking or physically going up against 300 plus lbs men in a physical battle one on one! Do you know what the total amount of force is??? I don’t believe u have a clue? Coop has to learn to be able to retrust what that leg can/can’t do…and we all have to give it some time. All in all…most of us FANS…took a deep breath after he got rolled up on that same leg…(he should have come out & didn’t…that’s a true clue as to how tuf he is!) He handled his job pretty damn good all things considered…he remained on the field while our # 1’s came out… but HST # ones remained in on defense for a # of series…

    What kind of Cactus juice do you drink? Are u just a thorny human being?
    Find another team!

  20. By BigAl on Aug 13, 2014 | Reply

    Sorry got alittle anxious…
    Was supposed to read Palmer was 5 for 5 for 84 w/a TD! That’s fact!

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