New York Jets: Le’Veon Bell is pivotal to Sam Darnold’s development
By Brent Clarke
The New York Jets have hit a home run by securing former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell. Bell will be a key factor in developing budding quarterback Sam Darnold.
The New York Jets have made a splash in the offseason by signing former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell. The All-Pro running back will be an instant game changer in a Jets offense that can certainly use the help. New York ranked 29th in the league in 2018 in offensive yards per game, 25th in passing yards, and 26th in rushing yards.
According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, the Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan is going through a three-year rebuild process. Now in year three of the rebuilding process, it looks like Maccagnan is attempting to surround his franchise quarterback Sam Darnold with a surplus of weapons. “We’re definitely excited about putting players around Sam,” the Jets general manager said at the combine.
The Jets shelled out $52.5 million to secure the running back who sat out the 2018 season due to contract disputes with the Steelers. Prior to sitting out, many would agree that Bell was the best running back in the NFL. He put up monster stats in 2017 leading the league in total touches with 406, rushing for 1,291 yards, and 655 receiving yards.
One Jets legend is all in on the signing of Bell. In an article written by NewYorkJets.com contributor Randy Lange, Jets legend Wayne Chrebet is quoted saying, “Guys like Le’Veon don’t become available every day. He was the prize of free agency,” Chrebet said.
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“Especially with a young quarterback in Sam Darnold, you want a guy that you can not only give the ball to but who can catch passes. I saw in 2017 he had the most touches in the league. They say running backs get old early, but he’s had a whole year to get fresh.”
“It’s a power move by Mike and Adam.”
Bell is patient in the backfield as he allows his blockers to set up holes for him to run through. Bell has admitted to being a Curtis Martin fan growing up, which can be seen in the way he uses his blocks. Deon Williams of The Jet Press feels as though Bell is most effective in the open field as he uses his elusiveness to make defenders miss. If Bell cannot go around a defender, he can certainly use his 230 pounds to go through a number of defenders.
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The Jets have not had this type of game changer in a long time. Manish Metha reported back in February that there were concerns Bell had gained a little weight from the last time he played. If these rumors are true, once Le’Veon gets back into football shape, he will be a force to reckoned with bulldozing and evading defenders.
In today’s passing league, having a running back that can bring in 85 receptions is huge. Bell will help free up receivers in the passing game due to the attention he gets from defenders, as well as being a great check down for Darnold. He is a complete weapon who also possesses the capability to block in the backfield.
He will definitely help relieve some pressure for Darnold, further assisting in his development. When he was playing in Pittsburgh, the Steelers would even line Bell up in receiver formations to further confuse defenders. Bell is a complete tool and it will be interesting to see how the Jets use him.
Fans of the Jets have a lot to be optimistic about this season with the addition of Le’Veon Bell. He is a workhorse and can really help uplift a Jets team that has been on a playoff drought for nearly a decade.
Life’s a gamble and the Jets took a big one with the signing of Le’Veon Bell.