MORGAN"> MORGAN">

Cards notes: Cooper hopes to shake rookie jitters

Rookie guard Cooper trying to shake jitters after uneasy opener; Arians not ready to crown division.

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Cardinals left guard Jonathan Cooper has a simple goal for Saturday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.

“My goals are really just to perform up to par and not look like a rookie out there, as I was told I did,” said Cooper, who admitted to nerves in his first NFL game last week in Green Bay. “My technique, that was very rookie of me, just kind of wild and flailing versus really sound and smooth transition through everything.”

Coach Bruce Arians believes playing at home will help reduce the rookie jitters.

“Playing at home, you can hear the communications a little bit better,” said Arians, who has harped on the high number of mental errors by younger players. “You would like to see that clean up.”

Maybe Wednesday’s off day will help, too. Cooper, the team’s first-round pick, said he went with a teammate to IKEA, then spent the day trying to figure out how to put the purchase together without instructions.

NEW CHALLENGE

Offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin never imagined he’d have such a title before his name.

“It’s something I never aspired to be, because I love coaching offensive line, which I’m still doing,” he said. “But the opportunity to lead meetings and lead a group of men is fun like I never imagined it would be.”

Fun and daunting at the same time.

“Probably the biggest adjustment for me is telling a bunch of guys older than me what to do,” said Goodwin, 39. “I give coach Arians credit for allowing me to pursue this gig.”

As for his approach to his players, Goodwin said it’s pretty simple.

“I have passion for the game, so I let them know when I’m pissed, I let them know when I’m happy,” he said. “Hopefully, I’m happy more than I’m pissed off.”

IS NFC WEST BEST?

A popular preseason notion holds that the NFC West is now the NFL’s best division. Arians believes the division’s teams share a similar trait.

“It’s a physical division, and those are teams that normally do well on the road,” he said. 

At the same time,“I don’t see the dominance that everybody else talks about. One of those teams may be, but it’s still got to be played on Sunday.

INJURY UPDATE

Arians said defensive end Frostee Rucker (big toe sprain) and safety Rashad Johnson (knee, ankle) will miss Saturday’s game against the Cowboys, while running back Andre Ellington (neck) will return.

Other players who will miss Saturday’s game are: LB Karlos Dansby (hamstring), NT Dan Williams (ankle), RB Ryan Williams (knee), TE Jeff King (knee) and S Jonathon Amaya (knee). CB Javier Arenas’ status (injured finger) is uncertain. 

Arians said Danby will return to practice on Monday. “He doesn’t need much tune-up,” Arians said. “He knows how to play the game. Get him a good couple quarters against San Diego (Aug. 24) and he’ll be fine.”