After one day on the practice field with his new signal-caller, Le’Veon Bell said Sam Darnold will be able to create more plays for him using his legs, Kevin Patra of NFL.com reports.
“Sam’s going to make me a better player just cause of the fact that he’s so mobile,” Bell said. “He’s going to create opportunities for me that I wouldn’t usually have and same thing for me, I’m going to make opportunities for him that he’s never had really before too. We’re going to kind of bounce off each other and I think it’s going to be a special duo in the backfield.”
Bell played with a quarterback in Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger, who despite not having speed to run away from defenders extended plays with the best thanks to his strength, famous pump fakes, and subtle pocket movement. Perhaps Bell envisions more opportunities coming his way in New York with a quarterback whose escape hatch is rolling out, where the running back could find himself in open space in the flat.
There is little question that Bell’s ability in the passing game, and especially as a blocker in the backfield, should behoove Darnold entering Year 2. Last season, Darnold struggled with underneath throws, finishing dead last in completion percentage (62.9) on tosses from one to 10 yards. Bell should immediately upgrade that range for Darnold.
Bell should be the workhorse out of the Jets’ backfield as a dual-threat, but the veteran back said he’s not worried about how many touches he earns.
“I feel like I need enough touches for us to win the game,” he said. “I don’t care if I have seven touches; if I have seven touches and we win the game, I had enough today. If I have 38 touches and we win the game, that’s enough. If I have 38 touches and we lose, then I didn’t get enough. I just want to have enough for us to win the game; that’s all that really matters to me. I don’t care how many touches I’m getting; I want us to win the game.”
If the goal is to win games, and ultimately, as he said, the Super Bowl, the questions clearly turn to why Bell would skip voluntary workouts with a new team, and new quarterback as he did before this week.
In a one-on-one interview with NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones, Bell said in order to be the best he can be for the Jets, training with his personal guru was the optimal route to get ready for a grueling season after more than a year off.
“I know a lot of people are expecting a lot from me and I want to be my best self,” he said when asked why he skipped OTAs. “What I’ve been doing over the course of my career — everybody’s been seeing me be my best self. In the offseason, I’ve been doing the same thing (every year). I work out with my trainer, he knows my body to a T.
“He knows the things that I’m great at and he knows the things I’m not necessarily great at and he’ll try to help those things. Our trainer here is coaching 50 guys that are trying to meet one-on-one. So, I can be my best self and I can help my team the best that I can (by skipping OTAs). I want to be the best that I can be because I want to win a Super Bowl.”