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Earl Watford, Jonathan Cooper praised for play vs. Saints

Two 2013 draft picks starting on the right side of the line played well.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals were pleased with the play of the offensive line on Sunday in the team's season opening win over the New Orleans Saints. In particular, two players playing new positions this season were praised by head coach Bruce Arians and general manager Steve Keim. Jonathan Cooper, playing right guard this season, and Earl Watford, playing right tackle, had themselves pretty good games.

Arians, speaking to the media on Monday, said Watford did "fine" in his first start at right tackle, which was also his first start in his NFL career. "He gave up a couple pressures against a really good player," Arians explained. "But overall he battled. He really helps us in the running game because he's so athletic."

Keim, who was on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Monday morning, also had words about Watford. When asked about what pleased him most after looking at the game film, he said, "it was probably the way the Earl Watford played," describing his game as "very, very good."

Pro Football Focus credited him with three hurries and one hit on Carson Palmer, but there were no sacks and he was facing Cameron Jordan, who has had 20 sacks in the last two seasons and made the Pro Bowl once.

Keim and Arians had higher praise for Cooper. Keim said Cooper "played excellent -- not good -- excellent."

Arians called Cooper's play "solid." He did not he had the holding penalty early in the game and "got tossed on a pull one time," but Keim noted Cooper's ability to move out in space and open things up for Andre Ellington and Chris Johnson was great to see.

Neither Cooper nor Watford had made any sort of impact on the field during their first two years in the league. After one game in 2015, it looks like they are on track to solidify the right side of the line.