Steve Keim has been nails as a general manager for the Arizona Cardinals. He has helped cultivate a culture of winning, while also creating an atmosphere that players, free agents and veterans, want to be in and be a part of. His first decision in the draft though, his first pick as the man, it flopped, big time. After all the hype and hyperbole behind the Jonathan Cooper selection, Cooper went out with a whisper, a throw in to a deal that netted them the pass rusher that they so badly needed.
Now, Cooper is getting a fresh start, and he had some things to say about his time in Arizona and about getting that change of scenery that will hopefully give him the chance to become the player he was hoped to be.
"Things since I broke my leg haven't quite been where I wanted them to be," Cooper told Sirius XM NFL Radio via ESPN. Everyone in Arizona knew there was a difference between Cooper pre and post injury, but his willingness to talk about it for the first time was interesting.
"You get a whole different mindset when you're out there working hard, you're healthy and you're playing the best ball you can -- the only hard mental parts are the playbook and knowing the game. When it goes beyond the field, and when it comes to that mental stuff, that's when it gets more difficult," Cooper said in the interview. This was something that had been bandied about, that the mental side of the game had overwhelmed Cooper, leading to him being less of a force when on the field.
Cooper though, seems to be ready to move on from it, as he told Sirius "Honestly, it's more of a mental thing than anything else. I feel like the biggest thing is the actual fresh start with a new organization and being able, from this day forward, to rewrite my history and be a better player than I was before."
It is disappointing as a fan to see a player that was going to help be the beginning of a new era flame out, especially when you see it as a mental issue as opposed to just not being good, but it is good to see Cooper feeling like he's in the right place with the right mentality now.