Posted June 03, 2013 on AP on Fox
The Arizona Cardinals opened their final session of OTAs Monday, shrugging off the scorching desert heat as first-round draft pick Jonathan Cooper moved in at the starting guard spot on the revamped left side of the team's offensive line. Cooper said he came into the offseason workouts expecting to compete for a starting job after Arizona chose him out of North Carolina as the seventh pick overall in this year's draft. The 6-foot-2, 311-pound lineman would start alongside left tackle Levi Brown, who was sorely missed a year ago after he tore his right triceps in a preseason game and sat out the entire season. Installing Cooper at left guard means that Daryn Colledge shifts to the right side. ''It's getting a little bit easier every day but I'm really still trying to focus on learning the playbook,'' Cooper said after Monday's workout. ''The physical aspect will be there, but I'm really just trying to be more of a technician and more mentally sound.'' Cooper has been in Arizona for all the OTAs, as well as separate workouts for the rookies. ''He's getting so many reps he can't help but improve,'' coach Bruce Arians said. ''He's had a lot of things thrown at him, a lot of different looks defensively, but he's holding his own. He's not a rookie anymore. He's already had enough snaps to be a sophomore.'' Of course he and the rest of the team have yet to don pads for the new Cardinals coach. Cooper said it's the mental aspect that's so different from what he dealt with in college. ''Just the playbook, there's so many components to it,'' he said, ''so many layers, so many different calls, so many different situations that you're in that you have to be prepared for. I feel like that's been the toughest part of the transition.'' Although he has yet to sign a contract, Cooper said it's important for him to be on hand for every offseason workout. ''If I want to do what I have plans to do, then I have to be here,'' Cooper said. ''I can't afford to miss time. That's really not an option for me.'' Colledge, who started at left guard most of his career, with a few snaps at center, said he understands why the Cardinals want to keep their first-round pick on the same side of the ball where he played at North Carolina. Colledge, entering his ninth NFL season, said it's a challenge to move to the right side but he is intent on making it work. ''It's just one of those things where you've got to get the fundamentals down,'' he said. ''I think it's an easier transition at guard than it is tackle. The stance isn't quite as staggered. For me, I'm really just switching hands and kicking my feet a little bit. It will come slow but it will come steady and hopefully by camp I'll be in a good flow.'' The offensive line struggled mightily, with injuries to Brown and center Lyle Sendlein compounding the problem. But Arians has repeatedly said that the line wasn't in as bad a shape as was perceived when he arrived. Bobbie Massie played much better in the second half of last season as a rookie and returns to the right tackle spot. Nate Potter, whose insertion into the offensive line as a rookie at left tackle coincided with the team's improved play up front, adds depth. Arians said Potter may be able to move inside and play some at guard, too. Monday's session was the first of four days of OTAs, with temperatures expected to hover at 100 degrees, perhaps higher, near the end of the practices, which conclude shortly after noon. ''Oh I love it. Who doesn't love this heat, right?'' Cooper joked. He said he just has to put the issue of how hot it is out of his mind while he's on the field. ''And it's only going to get warmer,'' Cooper said, ''so I'm really just trying my best to stay focused on what I can control.'' Notes: Rookie WR Ryan Swope did not participate in practice. Arians declined to talk about it, saying teams don't have to list injuries during OTAs. Last week in a radio interview, Larry Fitzgerald said Swope is sidelined with ''head issues.'' Swope, a sixth-round draft pick, says he had two concussions that kept him out of games at Texas A&M. ... CB Patrick Peterson also was not on hand. Arians says he has been gone for nine days to attend a funeral. --- Follow Bob Baum at www.twitter.com/Thebaumerphx
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Creative cuts create cap space for Cardinals

The NFL salary cap can simply be summed up as the amount a team is allowed to spend on their players preventing the most wealthy teams, such as the Cowboys, from buying all the valuable players. Over this past weekend the Arizona Cardinals gained another $3 mil in cap space to increase the grand total of their overall cap space at just over $10 mil in 2014.

Focus shifts to football as Mathieu settles in with Cards

TEMPE, Ariz. Since he was drafted, Cardinals third-round pick Tyrann Mathieu has been a greater focal point of the Phoenix media than top pick Jonathan Cooper or second-round pick Kevin Minter. Given his myriad accomplishments at LSU -- and his equally notable missteps off the field -- that made sense. But as organized team activities (OTAs) entered their third week on Monday at...

Cardinals rookie Swope still having concussion issues

Unfortunately for Arizona Cardinals rookie receiver Ryan Swope, concussions have been a common occurrence throughout his football career.

Cardinals sign two more draft picks to contracts

The Cardinals moved one step closer to locking up their entire 2013 draft class on Tuesday with signing fourth round selections Alex Okafor and Earl Watford to four-year contracts.

Tyrann Mathieu working with the Cardinals’ first-team defense in nickel packages

According to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, safety Tyrann Mathieu was working with the first team defense as a nickel corner on Monday. The numbers were thin at cornerback on Monday. Patrick Peterson is missing his second week of work because of family issues, including a death. Antoine Cason was out with an injury, and Jerraud Powers also missed. Those absences led to more...

Free Agent Notes: JaMarcus Russell, Early Doucet

JaMarcus Russell According to Michael C. Wright of ESPN, the Bears will work out free agent QB JaMarcus Russell on Friday. Matt Garafolo of USA Today reports that the Ravens are also showing interest in Russell Russell, 28, is arguably one of the biggest draft busts in recent years but also has a lot of talent when it comes to throwing the football.  Ultimately though work ethic...

PFZ Podcast: Cardinals a contender in 2013?

I think the Arizona Cardinals will be a playoff contender in the 2013 NFL season. Need NFL Tickets? The post PFZ Podcast: Cardinals a contender in 2013? appeared first on Pro Football Zone.

Arizona signs 4th-round picks Okafor, Watford

The Arizona Cardinals have signed both of their fourth-round picks, linebacker Alex Okafor and guard Earl Watford, to four-year contracts. The moves mean Arizona has signed eight of its nine draft choices. Only first-round pick Jonathan Cooper, a guard out of North Carolina, remains. Okafor led Texas with 12 1-2 sacks as a senior last season, ninth most in the country and most...

Who Says The Honey Badger Don’t Care?

I got a big heart Juan… Tyrann Mathieu is already doing his part to rebuild his image. The Cardinals new safety was spending quality time at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital earlier in the week. Are people really questioning this kid because he smoked pot? C’mon people our president used to get down with the greens, how did he turn out? The Honey Badger Says Wait Till You...

Steelers rookie back Le’Veon Bell impressing during offseason work; among top fantasy sleepers to target in 2013

The Pittsburgh Steelers struggled running the ball last season, so rookie Le’Veon Bell will get plenty of touches all season long. Other rookie running backs have more hype, but Bell has no one to really challenge him for playing time which could result in a strong output. This puts Bell among our top valueplays for the coming season...

Darnell Dockett continues Twitter creepin’ ways, next up J Lo

Darnell Dockett expresed his love for Jennifer Lopez, but it was not nearly the first time the Arizona defensive tackle has perved hard on Twitter.
Cardinals News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.