Releasing Le’Veon Bell depicts everything wrong with the Jets’ Organization

New York Jets, Leveon Bell

When the Jets inked Le’Veon Bell to join the team, the consensus was that Gang Green may have just rejuvenated their offense. The team handed a big contract to a former All-Pro running back and expected him to contribute immediately. Now when you add that caliber of a talent to your team, you expect a certain level of production no matter what side of the ball.

Bell had 245 carries for 789 yards and 3 TDs. He also added 461 yards and a score on 66 receptions. Bell put up numbers that look impressive on paper and for other backs, but when looked at in the grand scheme of things. It was an abnormally abysmal year for him.

Looking at his numbers from Pittsburgh in contrast to his little over a season in the green and white, the drop off was eye-opening. With Pittsburgh, Bell had an average of 129.0 scrimmage yards per game in contrast to his 80.2 in New York. The other startling statistic was his 3.2 yards per attempt that stood as the lowest mark of his career. So, why did Bell have such a massive drop off in quality of play?

While the obvious culprit seemed to be Adam Gase.

You can make the case that the team failed to provide quality blockers for Gase, but Bell’s utilization was the biggest issue. Gase was adamant about this in his preseason pressers as he stated that one of his primary focuses of the offseason was on using Bell better. Bell received a high volume of reps, but they were not meaningful ones. With just 19 attempts this season for 74 yards, Bell had bumped his production up to 3.9 yards per attempt, but he had 3 receptions for 39 yards out of the backfield. Now, this was only in two games since he missed time with a shoulder injury, but one thing was different this year than last. Gase DID use Bell slightly more efficiently than last season, but the primary reason he was able to get those reps was because of how Gase used his 37-year-old back, Frank Gore.

It was obvious to even the casual observer that Gase and Bell had a tumultuous relationship, but it was only furthered based on Gore’s usage. Gore was used as the bell cow back in the offense while Bell was out and even given reps that would typically go to Bell when he returned. Here is the cold hard truth, Adam Gase and Le’Veon Bell were never on the same page. The “innovative mind” failed to realize the talent he had in his hands and instead failed to adapt his playbook to his best players. Gase instead remained stubborn and set in his ways by continuing to overuse basic halfback dives and receiver screens. See, the poor utilization of Bell by Gase that led to the rift is the utter depiction of the incompetence that has plagued this organization.

Le’Veon Bell now joins the list of so many other talents who were wasted whilst with an “offensive genius.” Some of those players include Jarvis Landry, Robby Anderson, Kenyan Drake, Ryan Tannehill, and DeVante Parker. All have had rejuvenated careers WITHOUT Adam Gase. If the blind eye could see that is the issue, why can’t the ownership? The fact is the Jets thrive off of their own self-destruction and incompetence beyond just the gridiron. Bell moving on and having success would just be the latest feather in the cap of the embarrassment: the Adam Gase era and the organization as a whole.

New York Jets: Le’Veon Bell’s story is not a comeback

New York Jets, LeVeon Bell

New York Jets offseason acquisition Le’Veon Bell is not far off from a time where he was renowned as one of the best offensive players in football.

His versatile and dynamic skill set made him a 2-time All-Pro and a 3-time pro bowler. He set the league on fire from the start having seasons with over 2,000 yards from scrimmage like in 2014 or even in 2017 having another near 2,000-yard season with 11 scores.

Le’Veon provided the Steelers a patient runner but also a receiving threat. In his opinion, he is a number 1 RB and a number 2/3 WR. Thus, he felt he should be compensated as such or traded. Yeah, well the Steelers didn’t answer that request and after a year off from the game, now Bell joins the Jets and becomes one of the most anticipated Jets players maybe ever.

Bell has been given lofty expectations by the bulk of the sports media world but what are reasonable expectations for a guy who took a year off from the game in his prime?

What should the New York Jets expect from the versatile running back?

Well first things first, Bell was receiving anywhere from 113-321 carries in a season and anywhere from 26-106 carries in a season. Bell saw the ball as much as 427 times as most recently as 2017. Under Mike Tomlin, Bell saw a TON of snaps with the ball in his hands.

Adam Gase is not typically like that and in fact, Kenyan Drake disappointed mightily in his offense last season and only saw 194 times with the ball whether it was catching it out of the backfield or running it. Jay Ajayi is closer to the talent level of Bell and he even only received 295 targets or carries in his only season as the lead back.

The fact is, Gase is going to feed Bell but not as much as Tomlin, especially if you factor in the fear of rust from a year off. That leads me to believe that Ty Montgomery and Bilal Powell will play big parts as rotational backs this season. Both men are strong backups for Bell and can help limit wear and tear and take some reps to ease Bell back in. 

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So, although it would be awesome to see Bell getting the kind of volume he saw in Pittsburgh, that kind of volume isn’t typical of an Adam Gase run offense. Bell will see the field and no doubt be a difference-maker but if there is rust he can still take the pressure off Sam Darnold (a big reason the Jets wanted him) and be the lead back in an explosive offense.

Bell will have a lot of pressure this season coming off a year away from the game but there is no doubt if Bell is even a fragment of what he was in 2017 he will make a significant difference on Gang Green.