NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s no secret: Mark Sanchez — while he still has “a leg up” — will be competing for the Jets’ starting quarterback job this season.

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg made that clear earlier this month.

But following consecutive disappointing seasons from the former first-round pick, Sanchez has no premonitions of surrendering his status as the starter.

Entering his fifth season in the NFL, Sanchez has been working out with former Pro Bowl quarterback Jeff Garcia in Southern California.

Three days a week over the past several weeks, Sanchez has been working with Garcia both on and off the field in an effort to find the touch that made him so successful in his first two years in the league, USA TODAY reported. Sanchez has been in the classroom learning about the West Coast offense, which Mornhinweg has been known to implement  Garcia, of course, played for Mornhinweg during his time in Philadelphia and San Francisco.

Sanchez has taken what he’s learned and carried it over to the practice field, and Garcia is very impressed with what he’s seen from the USC alum.

“He’s doing an excellent job — the progress Mark has made over the past three weeks is definitely very positive,” Garcia told USA TODAY. “It shows that Mark is committed to bettering himself and getting himself more mentally prepared.”

Sanchez struggled mightily last season, throwing 13 touchdowns to 18 interceptions. He completed just 54.3 percent of his passes and fumbled the ball 14 times.

Garcia — who endured plenty of ups and downs in his 17-year professional career — sympathizes with what Sanchez is going through, and he believes that the 2011 and 2012 seasons can benefit the signal caller moving forward.

“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,” Garcia said. “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.”

The Jets currently have five quarterbacks on the roster: Sanchez, Greg McElroy, Tim Tebow, David Garrard and Matt Simms.

Tebow is still expected to be cut or traded before the start of next season, although general manager John Idzik has hinted that the team may decide to hold onto the former Heisman Trophy winner.

Do you put any stock into Garcia’s assessment of Sanchez? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…

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