One of the aspects of Le’Veon Bell’s game that should help the Jets is his versatility. Even when the offensive line is struggling to help him create yardage, his skillset as a receiver should still allow him to be productive and help make Sam Darnold’s job a little bit easier.
We saw this in the second quarter of Sunday’s game.
The Jets stuck Bell in the slot.
Just the mere use of Bell in the slot is something that can give Sam Darnold a lot of presnap intelligence. When you stick a running back there, it makes it very difficult for the defense to disguise things. If it is man coverage, a safety or linebacker will likely have to follow him out there. Since nobody was lined up across from him, it was a clear tip off to Darnold that Washington was in some sort of zone coverage.
Now take a look at the point where Darnold is throwing the ball. Bell is roughly equal with the defender.
But here’s the thing. Bell is running at full steam, and the defender is flat footed, having already made his drop into his zone. Since it is zone coverage, Darnold knows that Bell is going to be open.
And all of the other defenders in the neighborhood won’t be able to help because they are occupied with other receivers.
What does the play look like at game speed? Aren’t the Jets utilizing Bell’s ability like this to their advantage a lot? I’ll leave you a tweet that answers both questions. One answer will likely be to your satisfaction. The other will not.
Wish we'd see more of Le'Veon in the slot. This is just his 2nd catch from there (only 12 routes run from the slot all year) pic.twitter.com/kGUaLaysii— Michael Nania (@Michael_Nania) November 19, 2019