Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores Says That Le'Veon Bell 'Is One of the Best Backs in the League'

Kristian Dyer

Le’Veon Bell may not play Sunday. Statistically, he hasn’t had the kind of year that jumps out. But neither of these things matters much to the Miami Dolphins, who are preparing for the New York Jets running back to play this Sunday and potentially make an impact. 

There’s a reason for that as the last time these two teams played, Bell had a pretty big day. 

After signing with the Jets this offseason a pricey free agent, Bell has had a bit of a dip in production with just 589 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Much of that can be attributed to factors such as the inconsistent quarterback play when starter Sam Darnold with out for much of the first part of the season with a diagnosis of mono. In addition, injuries to the offensive line as well as simply poor execution on the part of the unit has done little to create lanes for Bell. 

He’s been solid and consistent, even if he hasn’t broken out yet with a signature performance or a big run. 

And Bell, out the past two days of practice with an illness, may not play on Sunday for the Jets. But the Dolphins and head coach Brian Flores are preparing as if Bell will play. The running back is officially listed as questionable for Week 14. 

“We’re preparing for him to play. He’s a good player at full strength. He’s a very good player at 80 percent,” Flores said on Friday.  

“Obviously he’s one of the best backs in the league. Really good vision, good run instincts, very patient, can find the space and he can hit it. He does a good job in the pass game, does a good job with protection. At any point, he can break a long run, so we’re preparing for him to play, and we’re preparing for him to be at full strength. It’s a tough test.” 

Flores spoke on Friday at the Dolphins team facility. 

In the previous meeting at the Dolphins in Week 9, a Jets loss, Bell had one of his better performances of the season. He had 66 rushing yards on 17 carries, good for 3.9 yards per carry. While not gaudy, that is significantly above his 3.2 yards per carry average for the season. 

Against the Dolphins he also had eight receptions for 55 yards. It was the second time all season where he topped 100 yards in total offense (the other time came in a Week 2 loss to the Cleveland Browns where Bell had 129 yards of total offense).