2014 Positional Analysis: Arizona Cardinals Offensive Line
G Jonathan Cooper
Oct 5, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Arizona Cardinals guard Jonathan Cooper (61) before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Stats: 7 games| 1 sack allowed| 0 QB hits allowed
Jonathan Cooper was taken with the 7th pick in 2013, the very first draft pick Steve Keim ever made. After breaking his leg in preseason, the big mauler rookie had to wait a year to begin playing in the NFL. He began training in 2014, but Bruce Arians was not satisfied. He said of Cooper “I’m a little disappointed with where Coop is at right now”. This was reflected in the fact that despite the poor play of Larsen and Fanaika, Cooper still rode the bench for much of the season.
When he finally found playing time, he wasn’t shockingly good, but he was reasonably effective. The Cars running game saw at least a minor boost with him inside, and he was a big part of Kerwynn Williams’ 100 yard explosion against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Cooper will not be moving to right guard since Mike Iupati has arrived in the desert. If he can build on a few positive signs from his playing time in 2014. It is concerning that he couldn’t get playing time sooner in spite of the horrible guard play. Now, it’s time for him to live up to his high pick billing and become an important player for the Cards.
The effectiveness of the offensive line is up for question. Was it really that better at pass protection, or did Carson Palmer’s new found legs make them look better? Was it really that bad in run blocking, or was it the running backs not being able to use the chances they were given? This is the hard reality of offensive lines. They have few stats, and what the stats say is highly dependent on the rest of the offense. It certainly looks like the Cardinals’ offensive line made strides in 2014, and hopefully it can continue to do so.