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Jets sign David Garrard but still have faith in Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez leaves the field after loss to

Mark Sanchez leaves the field after loss to the San Diego Chargers at MetLife Stadium. (Dec. 23, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty

On the same day new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said Mark Sanchez "will probably have just a little bit of a leg up" in the quarterback competition, the Jets announced the signing of free-agent quarterback David Garrard.

The signing was expected. A source familiar with the situation told Newsday this month that Garrard and the Jets would "continue to talk" about a deal after his solid workout.

"I see the Jets as a perfect opportunity to compete for the starting job," Garrard said recently on Sirius XM radio. "It is an ideal situation, not taking anything from Mark."

Garrard, 35, missed the 2011 season to recover from surgery on a herniated disc and signed as a backup quarterback with the Dolphins last offseason. He had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in August 2012 and was cut less than a month later. During nine seasons in Jacksonville, Garrard threw for 16,003 yards and 89 touchdowns with 54 interceptions. He'll join Sanchez, Greg McElroy, Matt Simms and Tim Tebow on the quarterback depth chart. There also is speculation that the Jets will sign Brady Quinn.

But despite the team's insistence on a quarterback competition, Mornhinweg said Sanchez has a slight advantage. Instead of detailing ways he hopes to "fix" Sanchez, Mornhinweg said his West Coast system will play to Sanchez's strengths.

"He's played some awfully good games," Mornhinweg said. "It's been just a touch scattered. So that's our responsibility. He's proven that he can play at a winning level, at a high level."

Mornhinweg also said he's had lengthy discussions with Tebow about how the backup quarterback could be utilized in his new offense.

Although Tebow is expected to be released if the Jets can't trade him, Mornhinweg said, "The man can play football, so how you utilize him would certainly be the key. He's on our football team right now, so it's my duty and responsibility to have some thoughts on how he could help us win the next football game."

New defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman said during his conference call that he hasn't talked to Darrelle Revis since season's end and isn't worried about the trade speculation involving the injured cornerback.

"I was always taught about not getting overly emotional about losing a guy," Thurman said. . . . Our mindset is, we coach who's here."

Jets owner Woody Johnson, who attended an NFL event in Manhattan on Monday, said he won't discuss Revis' status until next week's owners meeting.

San Francisco and Atlanta are rumored to be potential landing spots for Revis, but a source familiar with the Falcons' situation said "absolutely not" when asked about a possible Revis trade. At the same Manhattan event, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said if Revis were a free agent, he'd inquire about him.

Notes & quotes: The Jets have given right tackle Austin Howard, a restricted free agent, a second-round tender worth $2.023 million in salary, a source told Newsday. If another team gives Howard an offer sheet and he signs it, the Jets have a chance to match it. If general manager John Idzik opts not to match the offer, the Jets will receive a second-round pick from that team.

With Bob Glauber

New York Sports