Spend five minutes talking to Jonathan Cooper and it’s easy to see he’s a thoughtful, appreciative, caring young man.
He’s also not stupid.
Less than three days after the Arizona Cardinals agreed to terms with Eric Winston, who started all 16 games with the Chiefs last season, Cooper ended his holdout agreeing to a four-year deal on Sunday. Although Winston plays tackle and Cooper guard you can bet the seventh overall pick in the draft was watching closely.
The life of an NFL player is black and white.
It’s either eat or be eaten.
Which brings us to the new sheriff in town, Bruce Arians.
Less than a week into camp his fingerprints are all over the blueprint.
Out with O’Brien Schofield, in with the NFL’s active career sacks leader John Abraham who agreed to a two-year deal.
Arians’ vision is transparent.
Swap potential for production.
He’s put a stamp on the organization before even coaching a game.
Let’s hope he learned his lesson watching the man he replaced. Ken Whisenhunt’s efforts will never be forgotten. Taking over Dennis Green’s mess and turning the Bird Gang into a Super Bowl team but eventually the walls closed in about the time his skin turned thin. His skeptics grew louder and he no longer could turn a blind eye. Whisenhunt once pulled aside a local television reporter from the Cardinals training camp press conference room to question why his network aired two Kevin Kolb interceptions…in a scrimmage.
Petty, off-the-field distractions won’t be an issue with Arians whose past reveals a passion for football and little else.
“I look at him very similar to a Mike Martz or Todd Haley,” former Cardinals quarterback, now NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner told Pros2Preps.com. “Very fiery guy. A guy that will get in your face. A guy that will push you to the next level…what you come to understand is those guys are doing that, not to attack you as a person, but to push you to be great as a player. That’s why I think those guys had so much success. They never let me stay status quo. I think very much like Bruce Arians.”
It’s clear the inmates aren’t running the asylum at Camp Arians. Players will be challenged both physically and mentally by the entire staff before the final 53-man roster is set August 31. Fair or not the Red Birds are once again slapped with the “Same Ole’ Cardinals” tag Whisenhunt fought so hard to change when he arrived in 2007.
It doesn’t help the NFC West is arguably the best division in football but if anyone’s up for the challenge it’s the headstrong Arians who isn’t concerned about hurting people’s feelings as evidenced by signing Winston, essentially putting his first Cardinal draft pick on notice.
After 20 years of seeing his name buried in the credits he’s now at the front of the stage and deservedly so.
He’s more than ready for his big break in show biz.
Now it’s up to his supporting cast to do their part when the curtain goes up.