The newest star employee of the New York Jets, Le’Veon Bell, demonstrated all-around brilliance the last time we saw him in 2017.
The big boy has signed. Le’Veon Bell is now the newest stud New York Jets employee after signing a four-year, $52.5 million deal.
The varying opinions regarding the move are vast and apparent.
Bell, 27, will turn 28 in February of 2020. Rarely do professional running backs enjoy top-of-the-league success at such an age. The contract, though coming at a relative bargain, is a worry based on the running back position—one that bleeds value unlike any other.
Bell misses the 2018 season—no problem for the Pittsburgh Steelers; James Conner was there to save the day and actually put forth a better yards-per-carry in 2018 (4.5) than Bell did the year prior (4.0). Kareem Hunt hits the suspended shelf—no issues for the Kansas City Chiefs; Damien Williams‘s play turned out just as dynamic. Todd Gurley finds himself injured for the entirety of the tournament—here comes C.J. Anderson to lead the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl.
Time and time again, the stud NFL running back finds itself as the position that is 100 percent replaceable. When a position is so incredibly dependent upon one unit (the offensive line), it’s an obvious certainty.
Then there’s the issue of Bell’s reliability. The rapper back has missed an incredible 2.125 seasons during his six-year NFL career. He’s missed 1.125 seasons of a possible five when taking out his business-decision campaign of 2018.
The case against needs a litigator to comb through to completion. Nevertheless, the man is a stud at the position. At least he was the last time we saw him in 2017.
Patience, Vision, Smarts, Elusiveness
Le’Veon Bell’s greatest attribute is his patience. Watch how he successfully sets up second-level defenders from the jump.
In the first example, Bell takes the inside zone split and targets the inside linebacker. By taking his time and cutting right (while knowing he’d cut and surge ahead to the left), he allows himself several extra yards in the process.
The second play is incredible. Bell, while knowing he does not have the edge (the left tackle is blocking to the sideline), forces the scraping linebacker to fully commit to the edge. This allows Bell to turn it up for a nice gain.
Making Something Out of Nothing
The Steelers dialed up a ton of counters, misdirections and draws in 2017 and prior. The longer-developing designs allow Bell to utilize his skill set to the maximum degree.
His patience and block-setting match those plays brilliantly. Expect Adam Gase to understand this heading into the 2019 season.
Similarly, the Jets offensive line will need to be coached up in a specific fashion. Rather than surging forward, the O-line’s focus will be on holding the block as long as possible so Bell can work his manipulation game.
The following three plays showcase just how Bell can make something out of nothing.
The first is a draw. The hard left-footed cut while nearly falling down only to surge ahead for positive yardage is beyond impressive.
Bell literally takes four seconds prior to choosing a hole on the third example against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Screen Game, Protection, Safety Valve
As it pertains to the extra attributes of the position, Le’Veon Bell does it better than anybody.
First, the screen game. Bell’s timing when slipping from the pack is unrivaled. It eventually leads to a second-hand with his quarterback, as evidenced by the Jacksonville Jaguars safety valve play seen in the below video.
As far as his hands and routes out of the backfield are concerned, again, Bell is top notch. What he lacks in top-end speed he makes up for in every possible area such as smarts when reading coverages.
Wide Receiver Game
Amazingly, Bell can line up anywhere on the field. It is not easy for any back—no less a big boy like Bell—to line up as a wideout and run legitimate outside weapon routes.
The last play, the fade from the slot for the score, is an amazing piece of film. His speed doesn’t allow for separation yet his awareness in terms of a little push off with tremendous hands gets it done in the tournament two seasons ago.
Rushing, receiving, pass protection, the wide receiver game—Le’Veon Bell can do it all. At least he could do it all the last time we saw him back in 2017.
The New York Jets have already bet on the narrative that he can still do it all on the football field at age 27.