Jeff Garcia: ‘Sanchez Dedicated To Learning Mental Side Of Game’

Perhaps you’re surprised at how well Mark Sanchez has fared as the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jeff Garcia, who helped mentor Sanchez, is not.

“I think first of all you have to look at what Chip Kelly’s been able to do with a young Nick Foles,” Garcia said on The MoJo Show. “The type of year that Nick had last year was unbelievable, especially I believe in only his second season. The one thing about Mark I was able to see firsthand was his work ethic, his dedication to learning the mental side of the game. So I didn’t think there was any doubt that he wouldn’t pick up on what he had to do on the mental side – understanding the system, understanding the approach, how they’re going to attack defenses and what (positions) Chip Kelly (was going to put him in) to help him be successful. Mark has done a great job.”

Sanchez has completed 63.4 percent of his passes for 1,404 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions this season. He also has a 4-1 record and has helped the Eagles (9-3) to first place in the NFC East.

Think the 2-10 Jets wouldn’t mind having him now?

Then again, if the Jets did give up on Sanchez too early, they’re hardly the first NFL franchise to be guilty of that.

“I was fortunate,” Garcia said. “I played five years up in Canada, but the first year I didn’t even see the field. I was backing up Doug Flutie and watching him play the game and learning from him. It was midway through my second season there that I finally had a chance to step on the field due to an the injury to Doug, and I was fortunate to be surrounded by a quality team.”

That is often not the case for young NFL quarterbacks.

“First of all, the expectation – especially when they’re first-round draft picks – is to start from day one,” Garcia said. “Well, oftentimes if those kids are going (in) the higher picks, they’re not going to very good football teams. So you have teams that aren’t strong around them, that don’t have the necessary pieces to be successful – whether it’s a balanced attack and a solid running game, a solid offensive line, the weapons on the outside, a good defense. I mean, when Mark went to New York those first few years, (the defense) was lights out. They didn’t put all the pressure on Mark to light up the scoreboard. He had to just control the game, minimize mistakes, utilize the run game to have some balance – those type of things.”

However, other quarterbacks – such as Geno Smith, Jake Locker, Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, etc. – haven’t had that same luxury.

“Not everybody’s capable of (leading a franchise as a rookie),” Garcia said. “And as we’ve seen through the years, more often that not, (first-round) QBs . . . that have started from the get go (have not been as successful as ones who got to sit and learn).”

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