David Garrard could return to Jets in coaching role

  • Joe Ray
David Garrard may have a different future in store with the New York Jets (AP Photo)

David Garrard may have a different future in store with the New York Jets. (AP Photo)

Earlier this week, David Garrard was forced to retire from the New York Jets, telling general manager John Idzik that his left knee was not holding up in a way that would allow him to keep playing. While that eliminates the possibility of Garrard playing for the Jets this season, it won’t rob him of the opportunity to mentor the younger quarterbacks on the Jets roster.

Jim Corbett of USA Today reported Thursday that the Jets have offered Garrard a quarterback coaching “internship” where he will mentor Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith as they duke it out for the Jets starting quarterback gig. So what does Garrard think about how the race will play out this offseason? When asked about the future of Geno Smith, Garrard sounded extremely optimistic.

“I think Geno’s going to be great,” Garrard told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday. “He still has a lot to learn in the NFL. He definitely has to work. But he has what it takes. Now he has to go out and prove it.

“The one thing the kid has is he’s definitely the guy of the future. He’ll get a whole lot more attention from the fans, because they definitely want to see that new guy, especially since Mark has had a rough (52 combined turnovers) couple of years.”

Garrard says that, despite the many negative reports that have surfaced around Smith, he saw a kid in workouts who was ready to play and make a name for himself in the NFL.

“Geno had none of the signs of the negative things the media was talking about him. He didn’t try and big-time you. He was very attentive, never shrugged you off. He told me he was excited to work with me. He definitely had the makeup I saw in college — worked his butt off and was a field general out there.”

Not much of this bodes well for Mark Sanchez, who despite being only 26 years old may have already lost his title of quarterback of the future with the New York Jets. A strong showing in offseason workouts and training camp will be essential for Sanchez to regain the starting authority, but even that might not be enough. The court of public opinion has labeled Sanchez largely as a bust, as seen in Steve Smith’s comments about Sanchez earlier this week.

While Garrard would probably have made the Jets’ 53-man roster come August, he would have been hard pressed to beat out Smith and Sanchez for the starting job. Now as a coach on the sideline, the door is open for either Greg McElroy or Matt Simms to stick with the team, while Garrard mentors from the sidelines rather than the field.

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Down and Distance Columnist Joe Ray – @jpray_SK

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