Cardinals cornerback Marcus Cooper returns an interception 60 yards for a touchdown against Tampa Bay last weekend.
Marcus Cooper downplayed the game he had against the Buccaneers on Sunday, calling it “OK” and noting he got sloppy in his technique later in the game.
It was a harsh self-evaluation for the Cardinals cornerback. The view was not shared by the league, which named Cooper the NFC Defensive Player of the Week Wednesday after his two-interception performance.
“I’m new to the team so I have to gain these guys’ trust,” Cooper said after the game. “The best way to do that is to
make a play so that’s what I tried to do and hopefully we can just build on this.”
Cooper also had seven tackles and three other passes defensed in the game.
It’s the first player of the week award for the Cardinals this season. Last year, a Cardinal won it six times – three times on defense (Dwight Freeney, Deone Bucannon, Tyrann Mathieu), twice on special teams (Chandler Catanzaro and David Johnson) and once on offense (Larry Fitzgerald).
Cooper is an unlikely winner, given that he barely played for the Chiefs in 2015 and was likely to be released by Kansas City at the end of the preseason before the Cardinals sent a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2018 for him.
After a week to get assimilated to the defense, Cooper was supposed to alternate series with rookie Brandon Williams at cornerback. Cooper played so well Williams had trouble getting back in the game. Cooper ended up playing 65 of 79 defensive snaps, Williams 27 after taking over for Patrick Peterson late in the game.
“It’s always nice when you can get a surprise performance,” defensive tackle Calais Campbell said. “(Cooper) looked good in practice but he’s definitely a gamer. Good job by the front office finding a talented guy like that and he really came in and made some big time plays for us and introduced himself correctly.”