Matt Leinart is the Cardinals’ starter. Kurt Warner is the quality backup. But the key quarterback on Arizona’s roster right now is … Shane Boyd?
That’s what happens when your third-stringer played for coach Ken Whisenhunt in training camp and preseason in 2006 for the Steelers. Boyd’s knowledge of the offense is valuable as the team completed its first minicamp Sunday.
“Both of us have leaned on Shane a little bit,” Warner said. “We don’t have any pride. We just want to perform well when we get out there.”
Boyd, who came to the Cardinals’ practice squad after Pittsburgh cut him last year, said Whisenhunt’s offense “came back to me quick.”
“I was in it last year, I performed in it, and I know the ins and outs of it, so they ask me a lot of questions,” Boyd said.
Leinart believes he will grasp the offense much quicker this season than last, when he transitioned to the NFL as a rookie, although he acknowledged “it is a completely different terminology, a completely different playbook, so it will take time.”
Leinart can also turn to Warner, who played in a similar offense when he was with the New York Giants. Warner said his basic experience will be another reason he can help Leinart.
“I am one of those guys, too. I will ask a million questions,” Warner said.
In this offense, Boyd said, the key for a quarterback is nothing surprising: Whisenhunt harps on avoiding turnovers.
“When (the Steelers) won the Super Bowl with Ben (Roethlisberger), Ben didn’t do things to hurt the team,” Boyd said. “At the same time, all the pressure wasn’t on Ben. We don’t need the quarterback making every play.”
After a successful first minicamp, Whisenhunt said the message to players was to continue to study the notes on formations, techniques and defensive alignments before the team gets back together on the practice field May 12-14 for the lone mandatory minicamp of the offseason.
“So when we come back, it won’t be like we are starting over,” Whisenhunt said. “This is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Whisenhunt was impressed with the enthusiasm and the chemistry, noting the practices “flew by.” He also was happy at the attendance — only linemen Milford Brown, who was getting married, and Mike Gandy, attending a wedding, were absent.
SHIPP COMES IN?
Running back Marcel Shipp re-signed with the Cardinals in part because Whisenhunt told him he expected that Shipp would have a chance to run the ball more often. That scenario seemed to play out in the minicamp. Shipp is clearly ahead of J.J. Arrington on the depth chart behind Edgerrin James.
But Shipp, who has lost apparent chances to play to Thomas Jones, Emmitt Smith, Arrington and James over the years, won’t be dragged into such a discussion. “You never know, man,” Shipp said, grinning and shaking his head. “That’s what I have learned.”
The Cardinals had a free agent visit from guard Kendyl Jacox, a nine-year veteran who played in Miami last season, according to an NFL source.