The New York Jets have run into an issue stemming between head coach Adam Gase and star running back Le’Veon Bell. At this point it’s clear, one has to go.
The New York Jets have an issue on their hands, a rift if you will. That rift has been caused by a lack of communication coming from the top following the timing of former general manager Mike Maccagnan’s firing.
There is a difference in philosophy between the former front office and the current regime. And that difference in philosophy has trickled down on to the gridiron and it’s impacting the success — or lack thereof — the Jets are having on Sundays.
Star running back Le’Veon Bell isn’t wanted and that fact is getting harder to dispute each and every week.
Bell was handed a hefty four-year, $52.5 million contract by Maccagnan in the offseason. At the time the move made a ton of sense.
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Signing Bell would give young quarterback Sam Darnold his best skill position partner he had had in his short NFL career and the former All-Pro running back would hopefully rejuvenate what had been a lackluster offense a year ago.
But then Maccagnan was fired and new general manager Joe Douglas was brought in. And suddenly the players that the Jets had spent big money on in the offseason weren’t a byproduct of the current regime.
They weren’t Douglas’ guys. And in that regard, they weren’t Adam Gase’s guys either.
It’s been widely reported that Gase was never in favor of targeting Bell in the offseason. And given how he’s used his running backs in the past it’s easy to see why.
But the hope was that Gase would be able to adapt his system in order to maximize the talent at his disposal. After all, Bell was and is still one of the most talented running backs in all of football. Surely it would be difficult not to get production out of him.
But be it out of stubbornness or just pure spite, Gase has remained true to his scheme. And in doing so, Bell’s tenure in New York has all but been wasted.
This was never more evident than this past Sunday in the team’s disastrous 22-6 loss at the hands of the previously 0-11 Cincinnati Bengals. Despite facing a team ranked as one of the worst run defense teams in the NFL, Bell was hardly used.
Darnold was forced to throw a whopping 48 times and that wasn’t just a product of game-flow either. Bell was given the ball just five times in the first half.
The Jets ran 37 offensive plays against one of the worst run defenses in the league and managed to get their All-Pro running back the ball five times in one half of football.
That’s either clueless game-planning or flat out stubbornness. And while Gase catches a lot of flack, I refuse to believe that this was a foolish bunder. This was an intentional decision done by a coach who simply doesn’t want to use his star running back.
It seems pretty clear that Gase isn’t going to utilize Bell to the most of his abilities and, in turn, the Jets aren’t going to get what they’re paying for. So at this point, it’s obvious that this pairing isn’t going to work.
One must go.
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The Jets are tied down to Bell for the foreseeable future with a fully-guaranteed $13.5 million due to him next season. There’s no easy way of getting out of that. The likeliest option is that the Jets try and trade Bell but even that would require the team eating a chunk of his salary.
Or there’s always the option of admitting a prior wrong and walking away from Gase after just one season. But given ownership’s commitment to the former Miami Dolphins head honcho that seems highly unlikely.
Because if there’s one thing Adam Gase and Christopher Johnson seem to have in common, it’s stubbornness.
Unfortunately, the Le’Veon Bell signing has failed in seemingly every way except for the player himself. Bell has been pretty much everything the Jets hoped he would be and more.
He’s just saddled with an abysmal offensive line and a coach who doesn’t want him.
And honestly, that might mean that’s it’s best for him if he’s playing elsewhere in 2020.