The talk from his teammates and even head coach Adam Gase is that New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell looks good and he can have a potentially solid year. It is beginning to sound like a bounce back for Bell after a tough 2019, at least according to Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Curtis Martin.
The best running back in franchise history, Martin believes that Bell has the potential to break out in 2020 after a dip last year. Bell, who signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract with the Jets as a free agent last offseason, had several career lows in his first year in New York.
“Regardless of how much talent you have, Le’Veon is one of the most talented guys in the entire league. Without a really good offensive line, it is just hard to gain yards,” Martin told Sports Illustrated’s Jets Country.
“I’m expecting him to have a better year. There’s also this familiarity that occurs between a running back and his offensive. The more you learn their moves, their gestures. You know the plays – they’re going to step a certain way. Or you know their strengths and weaknesses – the more you get a feel for that it dictates the way you run. Now that Le’Veon has had a year and is able to grasp that knowledge and they have a better offensive, he’ll have a really good year this year also.”
Last year, Bell had 789 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. He posted a career low in yards per game (52.6) and yards per carry (3.2) . It was a low out from the three-time Pro Bowl running.
Martin’s point about the offensive line certainly stands up. This offseason, the top priority for general manager Joe Douglas was to fix an offensive line that was terrible last year and a major reason for Bell’s down output. With no running lanes, Bell was often bottled up in the backfield.
But with four new starters including first round pick Mekhi Becton, the Jets should be better in opening running lanes for Bell.
There is also the fact that Bell came into training camp in tremendous shape, earning the praise of Gase and his teammates.
Martin spoke as part of a media tour set-up by Pepsi. The soft drink brand set-up what they called a ‘Homegate’ experience where they completed revamped a Jets fan who lives in Piscataway, N.J.’s home, Cindy. The remodel of the yard including a Jets-decked out grilling space, an endzone, a Pepsi refrigerator, a flat screen television and even stadium seating.
In an era of COVID-19 when there won’t be any fans at MetLife Stadium this year, it is the chance to bring the game day experience to her home.
Martin is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who spent eight of his 11 NFL seasons with the Jets. He is the franchise’s all-time leading rusher and a member of the ‘Ring of Honor.’