The latest chapter in John Beck’s football career kicks off Friday when the former BYU quarterback and the B.C. Lions open CFL preseason play at the Edmonton Eskimos.
Beck, as expected, is listed second on the depth chart for the Lions’ first of two preseason games. League veteran Kevin Glenn will get the start under center for B.C., though the former Cougar, along with third-stringer Travis Partridge, should see plenty of action against the Eskimos.
"Obviously, Kevin Glenn’s going to get the start and get a feel for his receivers and get a feel for our offense. But he won’t be in there very long. It’s just a matter of getting him a little bit of time," Lions head coach Mike Benevides told reporters Friday, according to one of several videos on bclions.com chronicling the team’s quarterback situation.
"After that, the lion’s share of reps and work are going to go to John Beck and Travis Partridge," Benevides said. "Those two guys are going to get about a quarter and a half each. I really want to see what those men have. ... It really is about them and what they can bring to the table."
The contest, which will be Beck's first game in the CFL after signing with B.C. in early March, starts at 7 p.m. MT.
“I think it’s important for him to see live reps,” Benevides told bclions.com earlier this week about Beck. “It’s been awhile since he’s had that and it’s critical he gets some speed reps in the game. We need him to perform at a high level if he is going to be what he wants to be.”
The last time Beck played in a pro game was nearly two years ago during an NFL preseason game between the Houston Texans and the Minnesota Vikings. In limited action, Beck completed 6-of-10 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown for Houston.
This is Beck’s fifth professional football team. He was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He spent two years in Miami before moving on to the Baltimore Ravens (2009), Washington Redskins (2010-11) and the Texans (2012).
Now, he has the opportunity to find success in the CFL, which has its own nuances compared to the American version of football. In the CFL, for instance, there is one less down to make a first down compared to the U.S. game. Also, the field is wider and longer in the Canadian game.
"This game is different from the game I've been playing," Beck told bclions.com on Thursday. "Travis (Lulay) and I were just talking today about how different it's going to feel when, in game action, to only have two downs and how fast the pace of the downs goes and how quickly sometimes you're punting the ball, but then getting the ball right back two plays later.
"It's going to be interesting to see how it kind of feels to be in that situation because I can't really imagine what it's going to be like, I can't really prepare for that," he said. "It's just going to be like, 'alright, this is going to be my first time ever' and just let it go."
During his time in the NFL, Beck started seven games, lost all seven and completed 58.6 percent of his passes for 1,417 yards, three touchdowns and seven interceptions. A key stat that truly hurt his stock was his team’s scoring average in his seven starts: In four starts with Miami and three with Washington, his team averaged just 9.7 points per game.
He was released by the Texans on Oct. 3, 2012, and wasn't on a roster until the Lions signed him three months ago. Beck is trying to make this chance turn out more positive than his stint in the NFL.
Beck has had opportunities to make his case with the Lions due to the team’s quarterback situation. Lulay, who's started 45 games for B.C. over the past three seasons, underwent offseason surgery on his throwing shoulder, then re-aggravated the injury during the first day of training camp, according to the Vancouver Sun. It’s unclear exactly when he will be game ready and able to reclaim his starting job.
With Lulay’s unstable situation, B.C. chose to bring in Glenn, acquiring him from the expansion Ottawa RedBlacks last month. Glenn has thrown for 39,418 yards, 222 touchdowns and 151 interceptions in his 13-year CFL career while playing for four different teams, and he gives the Lions another quarterback with extensive experience playing the CFL game.
B.C.’s fourth quarterback, the CFL rookie Partridge, signed with the team in May.
Beck, for his part, has made a positive impression with coaches and teammates.
“John Beck right now has performed extremely well. You’ve seen some of the accurate throws. He’s got a strong arm, he’s a pro,” Benevides told bclions.com. “He’s taking to the playbook (and) he’s taking to the rules of our league. He’s doing a really good job. He factors in, in a big way.”
For Beck, the matchup with Edmonton represents a chance to improve and gain experience in a game that is still relatively new to him.
“It’s been a good experience for me and I’m happy with every day that goes by with the things that I can learn,” Beck told bclions.com. “I just look forward in this game to getting an opportunity to play. Be it a good play or a bad play, I’m going to be able to learn from it and help me become a better player.”
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