The 2019 New York Jets season has been a disappointing mix of injuries and subpar play, with a 26-18 loss to Miami serving as the latest example. One player has surprisingly been a positive despite all of the losing.
Le’Veon Bell has played in every single one of the New York Jets first eight games, averaging 15.6 carries for 51.9 yards per game, as well as 5.0 receptions for an additional 30.25 yards. His first half numbers have been discouraging, but there is a plethora of factors that need to be taken into consideration.
New York Jets head coach Adam Gase has had a rough start to his tenure, with multiple questionable coaching decisions through the first half of the season. With Bell coming off of a missed season due to a contract dispute, it was assumed that the Jets would take a careful approach with their $52 million man.
Instead, Le’Veon Bell has played in 92% of the Jets’ offensive snaps, the highest rate of his career. This increased playing time isn’t helping him transition into a new offense, as his 3.3 yards per carry is coincidentally the lowest of his career.
Poor Offensive Line
The New York Jets offensive line has been a disaster so far, as they rank 31st in the NFL in sacks allowed. The starting five (with or without Kelechi Osemele) has been one of the worst units in the league, and their poor blocking ability directly contrasts with Bell’s style of attack.
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His method is to to slow down once he’s been handed the ball, then wait for his offensive lineman to make their blocks before quickly darting through any potential holes in the trenches. When the Jets line fails to make their blocks, this limits the numbers of gaps for Bell to run through and he gets caught in the backfield by opposing defenders.
Revolving Door of Quarterbacks
This isn’t anyone’s fault, but it certainly can’t be helpful to have Bell receiving handoffs and passes from three different quarterbacks through the first half od 2019. Luke Falk, Trevor Siemian and Sam Darnold likely have different throwing speeds and handoff styles, so Bell’s slow start with the Jets could be impacted by that as well.
One welcome sign is that Bell, who has had well-documented problems with his own teams and management in the past, seems to be going strong without causing any distractions. He has shown support for Darnold and has been praised by multiple teammates, including Jamal Adams.
Here’s one thing I gotta say. There was a lot of talk before we signed Le’Veon about what kind of guy he was. The media painted him out to be a horrible person, bad teammate, lazy player, but I can’t tell you enough how first class of a teammate he’s been. Real one! pic.twitter.com/32wgjl8CMl
— Jamal Adams (@TheAdamsEra) October 22, 2019
After signing a huge four-year contract with the New York Jets, Bell was expected to step in right away and take control of the offense. Initial results have been mixed, but the 26-year old should return to form soon. A competent offensive line and consistent quarterback play wouldn’t hurt, either.