FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- In an unusual midseason move, the New York Jets have added former NFL quarterback John Beck -- Zach Wilson's personal coach -- to the coaching staff for the remainder of the season.
The Jets never announced the hire, but Beck, wearing team apparel and a headset, was spotted on the sideline during Sunday's 34-31 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Coach Robert Saleh confirmed the move Tuesday, calling Beck "another quarterbacks coach." He was added mainly to help Wilson, who has been struggling.
"A lot of people could look at it and say, 'Well, Jeez, you've got a lot of guys in the quarterback room,'" Saleh said. "For us, it's more consolidating voices for (Wilson), so it's all in one building. We're going to do everything we can to help this quarterback -- not just him, but all the quarterbacks."
Beck, 40, will be full-time for the rest of the season. He's familiar with the Jets' offense from past experiences and he's well regarded within industry circles. He provides instruction for several NFL quarterbacks out of the 3DQB facility in Huntington Beach, California.
He has worked with Wilson for several years and was instrumental during the pre-draft process. They connected during the Jets' recent bye week, meeting at BYU -- their alma mater -- for a workout. Knowing how much Wilson and Beck communicate throughout the course of the season, the Jets decided to make Beck part of the staff, Saleh said.
They have a crowded quarterback room, with four quarterbacks, first-time offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, senior offensive assistant Matt Cavanaugh and first-time quarterbacks coach Rob Calabrese.
"It's not an indictment on anyone whatsoever," Saleh said. "More and more, you're starting to see players have specialists, especially coaches. These quarterbacks all have their quarterback guys they call -- the Tom Houses of the world -- and they're talking to them throughout the week. You have kickers who have kicking specialists. You have basketball players who have shooting specialists.
"It's not an indictment on the coaching, it's just a very specific person to make sure they're staying connected to the mechanics of it all. With John, the idea was, well, shoot, he talks to (Wilson) all the time, he's a young man and he's an information gatherer. Why not bring him in to consolidate all that information to help him simplify this game and, at the same time, keep everything tight with regard to his mechanics?"
Beck's arrival comes at a pivotal time for the Jets (2-5), who may have a looming quarterback controversy. Backup Mike White, in his first career start, passed for 405 yards and three touchdowns against Cincinnati and will start again Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts.
What happens after that could be up in the air, as Saleh has remained non-committal about his plans. If the Jets win again and/or White plays well, he could stick with the hot hand. Wilson, injured nine days ago, is expected to practice next week, but his status for the Nov. 14 game against the Buffalo Bills is less certain.
LaFleur has come under fire because of Wilson's struggles and the slow start for the offense. Before Sunday, the Jets were last in most of the major statistical categories.
Against the Bengals, they tweaked the operation, sending LaFleur to the coaches' booth to call plays. Cavanaugh, hired in August to replace the late Greg Knapp, had a bigger in-game role from the sideline. In the first six games, LaFleur called plays from the sideline because it was Wilson's preference.
Beck, a second-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2007, was a member of four different teams, ending his career in 2011 with the Washington Football Team. He played nine games, starting seven (0-7).