As New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez gets set to play in the West Coast offense under new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, the 2009 first-round pick out of USC is being tutored by former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia, reports Jim Corbett of the USA Today.
Garcia played in West Coast offenses throughout his career, which began with the San Francisco 49ers in 1999. As Corbett noted, the first NFL coach to spot Garcia was Bill Walsh, the father of the West Coast offense. Mornhinweg was the 49ers' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach when Garcia entered the NFL and their paths would cross again in the 2006 and 2009 seasons when Mornhinweg was the offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles, a post he held until after the 2012 season.
Sanchez will be working with a third offensive coordinator in as many seasons (Brian Schottenheimer from 2009-11, Tony Sparano in 2012). With the new collective bargaining agreement scaling back the amount of time players and coaches and can work in the offseason, working with Garcia now can help prepare Sanchez for the OTAs and mini-camps as he enters his fifth, and perhaps most critical, season in the NFL.
"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.''
Garcia was in the NFL as recently as 2011, but is now a partner of Test Football Academy and is the "offensive coordinator" at their San Diego location. (Former NFL quarterback Chad Pennington is the "offensive coordinator" in their Florida location.) Another one of the pupils working with Garcia is 2007 first overall pick JaMarcus Russell, whose struggles on and off the field saw him washed out of the league by 2010.
Russell, who turns 28 in August, is attempting an NFL comeback this offseason.
"The plan right now is to continue to prepare him for another month and put together a pro day where teams can come and see JaMarcus,'' Garcia said. "Granted his back is against the wall. 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.''
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