Head coach Robert Saleh and the Jets have added four new assistant coaches to Saleh's second-year coaching staff. Ben Wilkerson joins the offensive staff as assistant offensive line coach. Two coaches have been added to the defensive side of the ball — Greg Scruggs as assistant defensive line coach and Nathaniel Willingham as defensive assistant. And Dan Shamash has been named situational football/game management coordinator.
Wilkerson, who will work with offensive line & run game coordinator John Benton, most recently served as the Giants' assistant OL coach from 2018-21, and before that with the same title on the Chicago Bears from 2015-17. He also received coaching experience as a Louisiana State graduate assistant in 2011, as Grambling's OL coach from 2012-13, and as an assistant high school coach in Houston in 2014.
Wilkerson also has college and pro playing experience. He played for Nick Saban's LSU Tigers from 2001-04, won a national title in '03, and after the '04 season was named All-Southeastern Conference, All-America first team and the Rimington Trophy as the nation's top center. As an undrafted NFL free agent, he played three games with the Bengals in '06 and 29 games with the Falcons in '07-08.
Scruggs joins defensive line coach Aaron Whitecotton in tutoring the Jets' D-linemen after serving as director of player development for two years and D-line coach for two years at the University of Cincinnati from 2018-21.
As a player, Scruggs is a five-year pro and two-time Super Bowl champion. He entered the NFL as Seattle's seventh-round selection (232nd overall) in 2012, played 14 games at DL for the Seahawks from '12-14, and while on Injured Reserve won his first title with the 'Hawks for their SBXLVIII win over the Colts at MetLife Stadium in early '14. He was on the roster for two years when Saleh was the Seahawks' defensive quality control coach.
Scruggs then played four games for Chicago in 2015-16, shifting to TE in his final pro season, and joined the Patriots roster, went on IR and proceeded to earn his second ring in the Pats' 34-28 OT win over the Falcons in SBLI. As a collegian, Scruggs played DT for four seasons at Louisville.
Willingham with the Jets is making his second NFL coaching stop. He was Denver's defensive quality control coach from 2019-21 and contributed to the Broncos defense, which in '19 and '20 became the first team to lead the league in red zone defensive touchdown rate in back-to-back seasons since 1995. Before the pros, Willingham coached for four years in various roles for Stanford University from 2015-18 and at his alma mater, Menlo College in California, in 2014.
Willingham worked with Jets QBs coach Rob Calabrese when both were in Denver, and his father is Tyrone Willingham, the head coach at Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington from 1995-2008.
Shamash was born in New York City, played football at Carnegie Mellon, and returns to the area after serving variously as offensive quality control, offensive assistant and assistant tight ends coach for the Los Angeles Chargers from 2017-21, and as Jacksonville's defensive quality control coach from 2014-16, the same time Saleh was the Jaguars' linebackers coach. Shamash also served briefly as a Jets coaching assistant in 2008 and as a consultant in 2011.