These are not easy days to be Mark Sanchez, but at least he's trying.
The quarterback of the New York Jets saw his production shrivel up under offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, who was shipped out the door and replaced with Marty Mornhinweg, a product of the West Coast offense.
That means new scheme, new language, new everything for the maligned Sanchez. He didn't waste time getting down to business, dialing up former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia for guidance on what to expect under Mornhinweg, who coached Garcia with the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles.
"It's great," Sanchez told the New York Daily News. "Jeff sounds like one of those guys that keeps his old playbook and is still really into it. He really speaks the language of that West Coast offense. It's nice to hear the schematic side, but also to hear what people think about (Mornhinweg)."
The collective bargaining agreement dictates Sanchez can't meet with Mornhinweg until the Jets' offseason program starts in April. Last year, Sanchez sought out ex-Jets passer Chad Pennington for tips on mastering Sparano's scheme. The effort is noted, and Garcia sees a quarterback attempting to right a troubling career arc.
"Mark has just come off of a tough year, a tough experience," Garcia said. "He's had some great things that have happened early in his career, and now he's at that point where things really didn't go all that well. He needs to resuscitate himself. He needs to resurrect himself, not just for the fans of the New York Jets but for his own teammates. He needs to prove that he is the guy that can lead them."
We doubt Sanchez would even have the chance if it weren't for the guaranteed $8.25 million he's owed in 2013. After all, Sanchez was brought in by former general manager Mike Tannenbaum and, for the most part, has remained a favorite of coach Rex Ryan, but now the leash is pulled tight.
The Jets aren't about to clunk their way through another long stretch of spotty starts from Sanchez. He needs to get off to a hot start and be much more consistent in 2013.
Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.