Cowboys lineman Cooper parlays health into starting job

Cowboys lineman Cooper parlays health into starting job

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Jonathan Cooper didn’t win a starting job on the Pro Bowl-laden offensive line of the Dallas Cowboys coming out of training camp.

The former top 10 pick by Arizona was borderline ecstatic anyway. He was healthy.

In part because of that, he ended up a starter four games into the season — for a third different team over three seasons since injuries shortened his time with the Cardinals and never gave him a chance to make a difference in New England after a trade.

“That’s played a major role in kind of how my career has gone,” Cooper said of a series of injuries, starting with his rookie year getting wiped out by a broken leg in a preseason game after Arizona drafted the former North Carolina standout seventh overall in 2013.

“To make it through camp, it’s like, ‘Well, you aren’t the starter.’ I thank God I’m healthy. Guys getting banged up. And I made it out completely healthy. To me, that was a great step in the right direction for this season.”

Chaz Green was the left guard for the Cowboys the first three games, while Cooper was inactive. Twice in those three games, the NFL’s No. 2 rushing offense from last season was held under 100 yards. In the three games since, Dallas hasn’t had fewer than 163 yards rushing.

Talk of the Dallas offensive…