Adam Gase is warming to the idea that Le’Veon Bell can be more than just a ball-carrier for the New York Jets.
The coach noted Tuesday that he hopes to get the dual-threat running back involved in the passing game more often in 2020.
“I feel like we can find better ways to get him the ball to help him create more explosive plays,” Gase said, via Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News. “We can get him in space better than what we did last year. I think there was a lot of good that did in the receiving game last year. But I don’t think we ever really gave him enough space to work. Because that’s his game. If he gets space to work, he’s going to make a guy miss… I think we really got to use the whole gamut and find as many different ways to get him the ball in space as possible.”
The fact that it’s even notable for Gase to mention he wants Bell more involved in the pass-attack should leave Jets fans shaking their heads. Not employing Bell as a pass-catcher regularly would be like picking up a spork and never scooping anything. What good is a spork at that point?
In his first year under Gase, Bell caught 66 passes on 78 targets. Those figures are nothing to sneeze at, but both are the lowest in a full season for Bell since his rookie campaign. The running back’s 7.0 yards per catch was a career-low outside of his injury-ravaged 2015 season.
Getting Bell more involved in the passing game is a no-brainer for the Jets, who have been banged up and have questions at the receiver spot.
“We’re trying to do a couple things that maybe we haven’t done before or he hasn’t done before,” Gase said. “Or some things that really weren’t in the early parts of the install. We’ve gotten pretty deep and gotten those guys involved. Obviously since we’re down to [a] limited [number of] backs as well, we thought kind of really kick it into gear with some of the passing game things with the back… This was a good time to do it.”
“He can see his route tree really expanding and we keep trying new stuff,” Gase continued on Bell. “If he likes it, we make sure we run that again. If he doesn’t like something, we’ll throw that thing away.”
As one of the few playmakers for Sam Darnold, the Jets should utilize Bell in any way possible. With Gase appearing determined to get Frank Gore on the field more, perhaps employing Bell as a pass-catcher in two-RB sets could be beneficial to a talent-challenged roster.
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