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Jonathan Cooper not playing because he's 'not one of the best players,' says Bruce Arians

Coope continues to be one of the biggest questions that might have been answered now.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There is one player many fans and media members wonder a lot about on the Arizona Cardinals -- second-year guard Jonathan Cooper, drafted seventh overall in the 2013 NFL Draft.

It was expected, after missing his rookie season with a broken leg, he would take the starting left guard spot.

He didn't and was hurt again, and Ted Larsen and Paul Fanaika have been the starters.

The issue is the play on the interior line has been inconsistent. General manager Steve Keim brings it up almost weekly on his radio spot on Arizona Sports.

He even expected Cooper to perhaps get worked in over the next few weeks.

That hasn't happened and doesn't appear it will happen.

Head coach Bruce Arians was asked about whether Cooper might start against Detroit in his postgame media session after the win over the Rams. Arians said the chances of starting were "none."

He was asked about Cooper again by the media on Wednesday and he was again blunt (via

"If he was one of the best players, it'd be different," Arians said. "He hasn't shown he is one of the best players. He's gotten a lot better than he was and I think he has a great future as long as he continues to do what he's doing."

Arians noted he ends up on the ground more than he should.

In fairness, Cooper has gotten playing time on special teams, something he wasn't even getting earlier in the season. He saw six special teams snaps on Sunday.

The question remains -- if the interior line play is not good, especially in the run game, why not give Cooper a shot?

"If I thought it would fix it, hell yeah, I'd make the move," Arians said. "I ain't an idiot."

There you have it.

Maybe Cooper is a bust of a pick, which would be yet another highly drafted offensive lineman to land on that list for the Cardinals. Maybe his injuries ruined him and he is a case of a "what if" story. Or maybe he just hasn't regained the confidence and play he looked like he was going to have before he got hurt.

Whatever the reason, Cooper won't find his way into the starting lineup unless someone gets hurt.