Le’Veon Bell’s return to the practice field and in all likelihood, a role on the field in Week 5, is a bit of good new for the New York Jets. Now, the Jets just have to utilize their All-Pro running back in a way that can maximize his very obvious talents.
Having missed the last three weeks with a hamstring injury suffered in the first half of the Jets Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills, the insertion of Bell can only help the Jets offense. This is, after all, the worst unit in the NFL in terms of total offense.
Bell practiced in full on Wednesday and Thursday and should be ready for carries this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
“I think he can be pretty effective. He did a good job of, one, getting healthy and then staying in good shape,” Jets head coach Adam Gase said on Thursday.
“Did a good job making sure that he maintained where his weight was. It’s pretty easy, especially when you have a hamstring issue to where you can’t do what you’re normally used to doing, he did a great job as far as making sure he stayed right where he was at when he got hurt. I think he feels even better now than he did when we kind of hit that first game.”
In the loss to the Bills in Bell’s lone appearance of the season for the Jets, he had six carries for 14 yards and two receptions for 32 yards. The rushing output was disappointing, especially after hype during the offseason that he was set to have a bounce back after a rough first season with the Jets.
But his ability to break open plays and catch out of the backfield remains something that can be an asset for a subpar Jets offense so far this season. On this roster, it simply can’t be ignored.
Gase wasn’t concerned that Bell might try to push too hard this Sunday against the Cardinals in his first game back from the injury.
“That’s always kind of in the back of your mind, but I think it’s a little different when you’ve got a guy that’s been in the league for as long as he has and done what he’s done,” Gase said.
“So, I trust him as far as giving me the right information. I think he feels like his body is in a good place. I think being able to take the last three weeks to really get his body right and make sure that he’s healthy – if he had a concern, he’d tell me.”
Left tackle Mekhi Becton (shoulder) was out on Thursday, the starting rookie left tackle having missed Wednesday’s practice as well. He was limited to just 17 snaps in Week 4 due to the injury.