One could say the biggest controversy of the 2014 Arizona Cardinals would be whether second-year guard Jonathan should be in the starting lineup. With the struggles of the interior line to create any push in the running game and the fact that so much of the pressure on Arizona quarterbacks has come from the interior.
The talk was fueled even more when general manager Steve Keim said he "wouldn't be surprised if in the next couple of weeks we try to work him back in there."
That was on October 27.
Turns out Keim might not have been been necessarily talking about getting him in the starting lineup. After all, when it comes to the offensive line, there really isn't any "working in." You either play or you sit.
Do you know what happened after Keim said that?
Cooper started playing.
No, he hasn't been on the starting offensive line, but he has been getting playing time. It has been on special teams.
Up through Week 8, he had not been on the field except as an injury replacement and as a tackle eligible. That was a total of four snaps.
Beginning in Week 9, the game immediately following Keim's comments on the air, Cooper has been on the field, but as part of the field goal team. In Dallas, he got four snaps (four extra points). Against the Rams, he got six snaps (four extra points and two field goal attempts). On Sunday against the Lions, it was two snaps -- for the two extra points.
While this clearly is not going to satisfy the masses who want him in the starting lineup. Unless there is an injury to either Paul Fanaika or Ted Larsen, that just isn't happening.
But we should find a silver lining. Cooper has earned the trust of his coaches to put him on the field for field goals, something he wasn't doing before.
It is baby steps, but they are steps forward, nonetheless. Cooper IS in fact playing. It's just not what we all expected.