When the Arizona Cardinals open the season against the San Diego Chargers on Monday night, 2013 No. 7 overall pick Jonathan Cooper won't be starting at left guard -- rather, veteran free-agent signee Ted Larsen will be at the position.
Cooper missed his entire rookie season with a broken leg. So far, that time missed has shown.
"His play before the injury wasn't stellar," Arians said. "It looked like a guy that was coming back off a year's injury. He's going to be a heck of a player. It's just a matter of time and taking the right approach with him and letting him get healthy."
Larsen played the last four seasons in Tampa Bay after being drafted in the sixth round by the New England Patriots in 2010. In his time, he's started 31 games at guard and center. He's been a better center than guard during his career.
The offensive line was an issue for Arizona last season and sits as the biggest question mark on an otherwise potent offense. It's a positive for both the Cards and Cooper that Arians isn't just handing the young player a job based on draft status -- good teams don't win that way.
However, before then end of the year, if Arizona is to contend they will need Cooper to play like the player he was drafted to become.