In our countdown of 2019 storylines, topic No. 11 focuses on the performance of Jets running back Le'Veon Bell after a year away from football. A quote regarding Bell from another countdown series suggests that maybe Bell won’t be used to the extent he was in the past.
Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News is looking at the most important players on the Jets’ roster. At No. 4 landed Bell.
The article includes this quote from coach Adam Gase regarding Bell’s expected workload: “I’ve always felt like I have a good feel of when a guy is either fatigued or we’re heading in a direction of maybe we’re wearing him down. I think we’ll start early to where he’ll get a certain amount of reps that we use. I mean, he is a veteran running back, he plays a position that’s very physical. You can wear a guy out with too many rushes, too many touches, too many snaps, too many practice snaps. We’ll keep an eye on that.”
While there’s nothing specific in that response, the general sense is that Bell won’t be thrown to the wolves, with no regard to whether and to what extent he is or could be fatigued, especially after missing a full year. Which means that Bell may not be averaging nearly 20 touches per game, like he did throughout his five years with the Steelers.
Of course, when a guy gets paid more than $13 million per year, it makes sense to use him. Then again, that investment needs to be protected.
It’s a balance that Gase seems confident he can strike, and ultimately it may come down to Gase’s gut-level assessment of whether Bell needs more, or less, rest.