Bill Belichick lauds Jets RB Le’Veon Bell

Andy Hart
September 18, 2019 - 12:50 pm

Joining the Jets this offseason on a four-year, $52 million deal after sitting out all of 2018 in contract dispute with the Steelers, running back Le’Veon Bell was destined to be a key cog in the New York offense.

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Now, though, with the Jets having lost their top two quarterbacks – Sam Darnold sidelined for a while with mono and Trevor Siemian lost for the season with an ankle injury – Bell’s role in the New York offense is only expected to grow working with unproven young passer Luke Falk.

Beyond simple run plays and catching the ball out of the backfield, Bell even took over the offense with some Wildcat snaps in a loss to the Browns on Monday night.

Through two games in his Jets career, Bell leads New York with 38 rushes (33 more than the next most active teammate) for 128 yards (3.4 avg.). He’s second on the team with 16 receptions for 93 yards (5.8 avg.) with one touchdown.

Whatever his likely very active role is moving forward in Adam Gase’s offense, Bill Belichick made it clear he believes that Bell is more than up to the task.

“Bell is clearly one of the top backs in the league,” Belichick said in his big mid-week press conference at Gillette Stadium. “Outstanding with the ball in his hands. Great receiver. Just a really hard matchup player. He does an excellent job of breaking tackles. He’s a hard guy to get on the ground whether he spins, jumps over guys, makes them miss in the open field, puts his shoulder down and runs through them.”

Known over his years with the Steelers for his patient running style, Bell is capable of taking whatever a defense gives him on any given snap.

“He’s a very explosive player,” Belichick observed. “If it’s there, he’ll hit it. If it’s not, he does an excellent job of setting blockers up and making defenders commit and then finding space and going. He doesn’t, you don’t see him run into the back of his blockers and run into a pile and things like that. He makes guys commit and then he finds space and is able to get to it. He’s an excellent player.”

And two games into the new season in a new home after sitting out an entire year, how does Belichick think Bell compares to the last time the Patriots saw him in 2017?

“He looks pretty good. He’s fresh,” Belichick said with a smirk. “Looks good. Catches the ball well. Very good in the open field. He’s a strong in-line runner.”

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