There are some common misconceptions among fans about what goes into an NFL player passing up another player within the starting lineup (I am guilty of this as well), so I sought out the advice of a former player to ask some questions.
@SCoxFB @RUSSLANDE I would say he can grow but it's a significantly slower growth than playing time provides.— Ryan Riddle (@Ryan_Riddle) November 15, 2014
That would lend some credence to what has been said about Cooper by Arians in practice. The Cardinals fanbase is waiting for Cooper to make a move that is hard to make in a standard practice occurrence.
@SCoxFB @RUSSLANDE And evaluating his growth and overall ability in practice is challenging and very limited.— Ryan Riddle (@Ryan_Riddle) November 15, 2014
Maybe he is great, but it is hard to be great in a practice setting. It is hard to show that he deserves what everyone is wanting out of him, to take hold of the starting job. The interesting part though, is he could even start to "show it" like General Manager Steve Keim has mentioned, but the nervousness by Coach Arians may have to do with the fact that a game, that's a new challenge.
@SCoxFB To "show it," to "learn it" and to improve from it. Happens but games are a whole other animal.— Ryan Riddle (@Ryan_Riddle) November 15, 2014
Arians has been an offensive coach for a long time in the NFL. He is also stubborn to a fault at times, he believes his evaluations are the right evaluations, and he's going to ride this wave for whatever time he has left in the game his way. It is what got him run out of Pittsburgh, it is what made him the wild man interim in Indianapolis, and it is what makes him the benevolent dictator in Arizona.
He knows where Cooper was drafted, he knows the importance of Cooper finding the field, but he's not going to do something he does not want to do. There is surely some gnashing of teeth between Keim and Arians in terms of how the roster is put into play on game days, but Arians knows what he wants, and he knows how he wants to deploy his team. If he fails, he's going down his way.
When he succeeds, he just grows that much stronger in his convictions. In the same way, Keim knows how to build a team, he knows talent, and he understands the game. He's built the winner in Arizona and Arians has done an amazing job of deploying that talent.
That's not going to change because of practice.
Thanks to Ryan Riddle for the help.