Le’Veon Bell is known for his patient style of running, but according to his former offensive coordinator, when Bell makes his debut for the New York Jets later this year, it’s the fans who might have to be the ones showing patience.
“It'll take time. I don't think it will be Game 1,” said Haley, who was a part of the Steelers coaching staff with Bell from 2013 to 2017. “Plus, with all the new guys, all the new guys up front, I think there will have to be some patience. I know New York. It'll be like, ‘We got Le'Veon — here we go!' I think you have to set the bar a little lower to start.”
Of course, Bell will be a huge addition for a Jets team that is now looking to transition from a rebuilding team and into one that can contend for a playoff spot. However, it is important to remember that Bell hasn’t played in a full season, so it might take a couple of games for him to get acclimated with the speed of the NFL once again. According to Haley, the offensive line will play a huge part in how well Bell does, as it takes some time to build chemistry with each other.
“It takes a little time for those guys up front to get a real feel for how to block for him because it's a totally different technique you have to use,” said Haley. “You have to almost stand up, be patient and don't pick the hole for the back, like most times you do. You're letting him find the hole by keeping your guy [at bay]. So I think continuity, all those things, will be critical.”
Despite the caution, his Jets teammates seem to know what they’re getting and are very excited.
“We all know how he can help: He's just a playmaker,” said Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder, another key free-agent addition. “He can catch the ball out of the backfield. He can run. He's a playmaker. He's going to definitely draw a lot of attention from a running-game standpoint as well as a passing-game standpoint. It's only going to open it up for a guy like myself and for the other receivers and tight ends.”
When healthy and completely motivated, Bell is one of the best running backs in the NFL and a lethal option for any team. If the Jets want to get anywhere close to the playoffs, they’ll likely need him involved in big ways, but they might need to show some patience early on.