Florham Park, NJ – The Jets were back on the practice field today, but with a little bit of added excitement due to the appearance of a certain running back. That running back, of course, is Le’Veon Bell who participated in his first practice as a Jet since this was mandatory minicamp. For this week the talk around Bell will be about him being here, learning the playbook and familiarizing himself with his new teammates but he will head back to Florida to train with his personal trainer after this week to work on getting himself conditioned with a training regimen suited specifically to him as the Jets hold their last voluntary practices before the pre-training camp break.
Today was all about Bell so let’s just jump right to today’s observation with Bell as observation number one.
1) Le’Veon Bell was here – For the first time Bell joined his new Jets teammates on the practice field, fans were obviously happy to see pics and videos of him participating but there wasn’t a whole lot to talk about other than the fact that he was here. Bell participated during all the individual drills, rotated every other snap with the first-team during most team drills except for when he was held out of the hurry-up portion of practice.
With Bell still learning the playbook, and the new terminology of said playbook, Adam Gase thought it would be best for Bell to just observe and observe he did. During each huddle of hurry-ups Bell would stick his head in to hear the play-call then make sure to stand just feet behind the quarterback and diagnose the entire play. Bell said afterwards that his goal was to learn, not just his role in each play, but everyone’s role. What is the X receiver supposed to do here? What about the Y? Is the left guard pulling or blocking downhill? Bell wants to know everyone’s responsibility so he can know where everyone is supposed to be at all times and where he can then be most effective.
We saw glimpses of his speed, his smoothness in and out of cuts and his explosiveness. We saw him line up wide at outside receiver and the attention that he commands and how it can open things up for the rest of the offense. Tiny little glimpses, which is the most you can expect, but we saw enough to confirm what we already knew, he can help this offense in a multitude of ways and even in one way we weren’t expecting.
After practice Kelvin Beachum, who played with Bell in Pittsburgh, joked, “the defense has their loudmouth (Jamal Adams) and now we have ours.” Quincy Enunwa has been forced to step up as the trash-talker of the offense, it’s not really his personality but he couldn’t let Adams’ talking go unanswered, now once training camp comes Enunwa won’t have to carry the full load and we’ll get to hear Adams and Bell go back-and-forth constantly.
2) Off-day for Darnold – Sam Darnold had a sloppy day full of mistakes, a couple of interceptions and even more throws comfortably off target. Of course this could have been simply a bad day, it happens, but realistically it probably had much more to do with the fact that they were installing new plays for the first time today. For the past few weeks of OTAs the Jets have practiced for three days, even though the media only got to see one practice per week, what we didn’t get to see until today was a Tuesday practice. Tuesday’s are when they install new plays, the players have studied the plays but on Tuesday they run them for the first time. The last two weeks we saw a smooth, clean practice both weeks, not so on this Tuesday.
Darnold was off most of practice, he made a handful of good throws but mostly he was overthrowing everything else. To be fair it’s entirely possible that on a couple of plays he threw the ball exactly where he was supposed to but the receiver didn’t get deep enough, but he so consistently overthrew his receivers that it seems more plausible that he was just rushing through the plays a little bit too much. Expect to see a much better and cleaner performance tomorrow.
3) Quinnen Williams gets his first sack – It was against the third-team offense, so don’t get too excited, but this is being mentioned now to let you now that you shouldn’t expect to hear too much about Williams on the field until training camp starts. Williams is still only practicing on a limited basis as the Jets slowly bring him back from the minor injury, but again there is very limited contact and without the pads on don’t expect for Williams to be making too many headlines on the field until he can really show off his speed and power. You’ll still get quotes from Williams when he talks though and honestly those quotes will likely be as entertaining as anything you’ll see on the field during these practices.
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