- Associated Press - Saturday, August 2, 2014

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Keeping Carson Palmer upright was a problem for the Arizona Cardinals’ offensive line last season.

So the unit has been revamped, with the probability that there will be three new starters when the team opens the season.

The right side was supposed to be an area of great competition in training camp, but guard Paul Fanaika and tackle Bobby Massie have what appears to be a firm grip on the positions a week into workouts.

The left side has Arizona’s prize free agent signing, Jared Veldheer, at tackle with 2013 first-round draft pick Jonathan Cooper at guard. Cooper missed all of last season with a broken leg.

Lyle Sendlein, the Cardinals starting center for the past six seasons, is out for three weeks with a calf injury but is expected to be ready for the team’s season opener against San Diego on Sept. 8.

Cooper, the seventh overall pick in last season’s draft, was the only lineman to draw criticism from coach Bruce Arians on Saturday.

“I feel really good about the right side. Paul is playing really well right now and Bobby’s been outstanding,” Arians said. “A little disappointed with where Coop is right now. I hoped he would come a little faster, to get back into the speed of the game.”

Arians said Cooper’s problem is “rust.”

“He didn’t play for a year. He got 15 practices before he got hurt in this offense,” the coach said. “We need to see that special player that we drafted that we had last year.”

Cooper split time with Earl Watford with the first unit in Saturday’s practice.

“I know that I haven’t been playing up to the level of potential that I have,” he said afterward. “I mean, it’s all right. He called me out and now I have to just work that much harder to kind of get over that hump and be the player I can be.”

Cooper said the problem has been consistency.

“There’s sometimes when I’m showing flashes and I feel and I look like the old player I was prior to being injured,” he said. “Then there’s sometimes and you can look and see ‘That’s not the guy we picked up.’”

Palmer was sacked a career-worst 41 times last season, his first with the Cardinals. After some shuffling of players, the situation improved somewhat.

But there was a clear need for improvement, and that sent Arizona after Veldheer, the 6-foot-8, 321-pound tackle who blocked for Palmer in Oakland.

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