Faced with the prospect of having a third offensive coordinator in as many seasons, Mark Sanchez is determined to be up to speed the moment he reports to Florham Park this offseason.
And it sounds as if the Jets quarterback is making strides in Southern California with former NFL QB Jeff Garcia.
“He’s doing an excellent job," ” Garcia told USA TODAY Sports. "The progress Mark has made over the past three weeks is definitely very positive. It shows Mark is committed to bettering himself and getting himself more mentally prepared.”
Sanchez reportedly has spent three days a week over the past several weeks – “first in the classroom and now on the field” – familiarizing himself with the West Coast Offense under Garcia's watchful eye.
Garcia, a four-time Pro Bowler who spent 12 years in the NFL, played under Marty Mornhingweg in San Francisco and Philly, and also threw a career-best 4,278 passing yards with 31 touchdowns for the 49ers in 2000.
So Garcia is now sharing his knowledge with the beleaguered Sanchez, who threw 13 touchdown passes and 18 interceptions in 2012 and was benched in favor of third-stringer Greg McElroy against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13.
“The most important thing for Mark is to take that tough season last year as a learning experience, from the standpoint of how he can get better and give his team the best chance to win,” Garcia said of Sanchez, who also had the second-worst passer rating (66.9 percent). “That has to be done in terms of being confident in his ability to run this system and speak the language correctly.
"So now when he takes the field in OTAs, he’ll be in that much more comfortable of a place.”
Garcia said he and Mornhinweg communicated “a few weeks ago” about what the Jets new offensive coordinator would like to "introduce” to Sanchez. And since then, said Garcia, Sanchez has gotten more comfortable with the West Coast terminology.
“He had a brief glimpse of the West Coast system at USC,” said Garcia, 43, who also is working out with former NFL quarterback JaMarcus Russell.
“The toughest thing is this will be Mark's third offensive coordinator in six seasons. The guy has had to learn a new system just about every other year. From a consistency standpoint, that just doesn't translate to success in the NFL. You really need to be secure in what you’re doing mentally in order to compete at the highest level."