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Jonathan Cooper still not completely 'freed'

His play has not yet earned him a starting spot.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Arizona Cardinals fans have been hoping for 2013 first round pick Jonathan Cooper to be "freed." After getting benched and hurt in the preseason, he has slowly gotten more work. First it was on the field goal team, then as a jumbo tight end. On Sunday, he got some work in at left guard and then came out, only having to return to the lineup after Paul Fanaika left the game with an ankle sprain.

On the surface it looked like he played well. He was athletic and moved well. He was in there for 40 plays.

Is Arians ready to give Cooper the starting job, though?

Arians told the media"not yet." Those 40 plays didn't do it.

However, in an interview on Arizona Sports 98.7, Steve Keim said, "I think you'll see quite a bit more Coop in the next several weeks."

Of course, that might be the result of injuries, as the severity of Paul Faniaka's sprained ankle isn't known.

Cooper played "OK" in the eyes of his coach. "He went ‘caveman' a few times, lost all of his technique and just tried to fight, but it's understandable," he explained.

"It wasn't his best performance, but there were some good things to take out of it."

It could be said that the staff is expecting too much from Cooper to get into the game. After all, the guard play has been a weakness. It has been noted by Keim himself. So either Cooper really isn't consistently any better than Larsen or Fanaika -- something that Cardinals fans should isn't happening -- or he still isn't ready.

So, with all the excitement of Cooper being freed, he isn't quiet free...yet.