The self-proclaimed “ticking-time-bomb,” Le'Veon Bell reported to training camp on a mission. Beginning his second season with the New York Jets, Bell is counting on a revamped offensive line and good health to spark a resurgence after a disappointing first season in the green and white.
Bell claimed he’s ready on social media when he posted a workout video.
Former Jets first round pick and ESPN analyst Hugh Douglas saw the frustration.
“Last year he probably was a little frustrated because he just didn't run the ball great,” Douglas said.
Bell struggled with just 3.2 yards per carry in 2019 and 789 yards rushing. They were disappointing numbers for the Pro Bowl running back, who was a prize signing for the Jets last offseason.
The release of guard Brian Winters this weekend means that Bell will be behind four new starters this season. Rookie Mekhi Becton and free-agent signee George Fant will be the starting tackles. Connor McGovern was brought in to start at center.
The Jets also added running back Frank Gore which could take some carries away from Bell, something that might well be a positive as it could keep Bell fresh.
A major issue for the Jets last year was the play of the offensive line, which struggled significantly last year. With a rebuilt group, the projection is for Bell to take a step forward in 2020.
“In order for your passing game to have success, you gotta have a sound running game. It was obvious last year that that was one of the sore spots for the New York Jets and Le’Veon Bell,” Douglas said.
Douglas was a first-round draft choice in the 1995 NFL Draft. He played three seasons for the Jets before making his mark with the Philadelphia Eagles and later, the Jacksonville Jaguars. After a stint with ESPN, Douglas currently hosts a morning radio show on 92.9 FM “The Game” sports radio in Atlanta.
Bell isn’t shy about anything. When Jamal Adams was traded, Bell criticized Adams for the public stance he took against head coach Adam Gase and general manager Joe Douglas. The irony there was Bell is the same player that held out for a whole season in 2018 for a comparable dispute with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Still, Bell is anxious to get on the field and play for real but knows there will be challenges as the NFL deals with COVID-19 and new health and safety protocols and prove that 2019 is a distant memory.