PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 06: Head Coach Adam Gase of the New York Jets looks on from the sidelines during the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 06, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
(Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)

New York Jets HC Adam Gase and Le’Veon Bell are on the same page after a disappointing 2019 season. They have a plan to fix things in 2020.

Danny Small

New York Jets head coach Adam Gase caught tons of criticism for the offense, and rightfully so, in 2019. Although losing Sam Darnold to mononucleosis was a massive blow to the unit, Gase wasn’t able to keep the team afloat without its quarterback. Gase’s use of Le’Veon Bell all season, but particularly early on, was questionable at best.

But now, the head coach is taking accountability for his misuse of Bell.

“I was really trying to get him going, and at the same time, teams kind of knew what we were doing, and they were loading up the box and he was taking some shots,” Gase admitted during a Zoom call via Robby Sabo of Jets X Factor.

Bell was the team’s best offensive option, but the offense was predictable and became bogged down too easily. Again, losing Darnold for three weeks didn’t help, but his absence only exasperated the team’s larger issues.

Admitting mistakes is the first part to fixing issues. Figuring out solutions is the second and more important aspect of the equation. Gase already has a plan to fix the offense moving forward.

“(We need to) make sure we do a good job of creating more plays for ourselves,” Gase added. “When we’re coming out of games and we have 52 plays, 53 plays… we need to get up to that 65-70 range, and now we can use him more.

“It’s just about getting the ball in his (Bell’s) hands.”

This is an important point. When the Jets drafted Lamical Perine and signed veteran Frank Gore, many felt that the Jets were positioning Bell for a lesser role in the offense. Not quite.

According to Gase, the Jets want to put the ball in Bell’s hands more often than last year. More plays mean more opportunities for everyone. We can still expect Bell to be the workhorse in the backfield, but having Gore and Perine to spell him will go a long way towards keeping the All-Pro running back fresh for the long haul.

During his press conference with reporters, Gase mentioned that his goal is to keep Bell fresh for “16-plus games.” Obviously, Bell is the type of running back you want to get the ball to early and often, but that can’t be at the expense of the long-term goal—the playoffs.

For his part, Bell is taking his poor performance in 2019 in stride. There are no excuses and he’s not playing the blame game. The focus is on improving for 2020 and moving past the mistakes of 2019.

“I’ve been hearing that’s it’s been the O-line, that there were O-line issues,” Bell told reporters on Wednesday. “I just kind of look at myself (and ask), ‘Was I the best that I could be?’ No. I know I wasn’t even close.”

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