New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has gotten his fair share of criticism in his NFL career. However, while a lot of that criticism is well-deserved, one thing it wouldn’t be fair to criticize him for is his work ethic.
Sanchez’s play may be underwhelming, to say the least. But to his credit, he’s never gotten complacent and has always gone above and beyond the call of duty to try to improve his game, even if it hasn’t translated too well.
Every offseason, he’s organized passing camps out in his home town of Mission Viejo, Calif. This year, he’s taking his offseason training one step further, working with former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia.
The Jets hired veteran offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg this offseason, who runs a modified version of the West Coast offense, which is a dramatic departure from any offense Sanchez has run in the NFL.
Per the terms of the CBA, Sanchez is not allowed to speak with his new offensive coordinator about anything related to football or coaching until the beginning of April, so Garcia is giving Sanchez a bit of a head start.
Garcia (pictured above with Mornhinweg during the 2009 season) threw for a career-high 4,278 yards and 31 touchdowns in the 2000 season while a member of the 49ers, with Mornhinweg as his offensive coordinator.
“Jeff sounds like one of those guys that keeps his old playbook and is still really into it,” Sanchez said recently. “It’s nice to hear the schematic side, but also to hear what people think about [Mornhinweg].”
Garcia and Sanchez are reportedly working out this week, going over the the playbook in the classroom and on the field. The goal is to get Sanchez up to speed with Mornhinweg’s philosophies as quickly as possible.
Sanchez’s cap situation will likely keep him a Jet in 2013, and he’ll likely be a part of the most challenging quarterback competition of his five-year career this summer, and that’s probably just by default.
“He should be challenged,” Garcia said. “He should be forced to bring the best out of himself. He should never feel content that that’s his position. … I think competition brings out the best in people.”
The 2013 season will be Sanchez’s last chance to make his mark with the Jets. But you can’t say he isn’t trying.