Former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia working with Jets starter-for-now Mark Sanchez seems like a legitimate opportunity for a man well-versed in the West Coast Offense to share his wisdom.
Throw in JaMarcus Russell, and it sounds like a punch line that’s looking for a joke.
But Garcia said he was impressed with the work Sanchez was doing, as he gets used to the changes new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is bringing to the Jets.
“He’s doing an excellent job — the progress Mark has made over the past three weeks is definitely very positive,” Garcia told Jim Corbett of USA Today. “It shows Mark is committed to bettering himself and getting himself more mentally prepared.
“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. 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’s a good tutor for the system, and he threw for career-best numbers under Mornhinweg’s tutelage in San Francisco in 2000.
“Marty and I communicated a few weeks ago [about] what he’d like to introduce to Mark,” Garcia said. “Mark is definitely getting more comfortable speaking the West Coast terminology. He had a brief glimpse of the West Coast system at USC.
“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.”
Speaking of which, Garcia said Russell’s trying to get in shape for a pro day in a month or so, hoping to get another chance.
“Granted his back is against the wall,” Garcia said of the former first-overall pick. “This is a situation where if he doesn’t do it now, it may never happen. But if you look at where he was two months ago to where he is today, he’s come a long way in demanding more out of himself than he ever did.”
If he had done that the first time through, he might not be a reclamation case.