Tim Benz: Le’Veon Bell’s praise for Jets QB Sam Darnold a little much | TribLIVE.com
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Tim Benz: Le’Veon Bell’s praise for Jets QB Sam Darnold a little much

Tim Benz
AP Photo
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, left, hands off to running back Le’Veon Bell while running a drill at the team’s NFL football training facility in Florham Park, N.J., Tuesday, June 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

So how was Le’Veon Bell’s first day at his new school?

The former Steelers running back went through his first minicamp practice with the Jets on Tuesday. Bell says he can already tell that he is going to be more of a leader in New York than he was in Pittsburgh because of his free agent status and because there were already other established stars in the Steelers locker room by the time he arrived in 2013.

Fair enough. Not sure I’d buy the whole “I was working out on my own to make myself better” thing, though. I still believe Mr. Jet Ski was simply trying to work himself back into shape after a full year off. And because he just wants to do his own thing all the time.

Here is where Steelers fans will find some of Bell’s comments most interesting. He described himself as “very quarterback friendly.”

As a blocker, runner and pass receiver? Yes. Absolutely. No doubt.

When he is skipping walk-through practices and throwing his quarterback under the bus by claiming Ben Roethlisberger froze out receivers and only wanted to “win his way?” Eh, not so friendly.

Bell also claimed the Jets’ offensive scheme will “be amazing” for him. Could it be more amazing than the scheme that yielded 1,541 touches, 7,996 yards from scrimmage and 42 touchdowns in 62 regular-season games for you in Pittsburgh?

The coup de gras quote from Bell was the one where he actually seems to compare Sam Darnold favorably to Roethlisberger.

NFL.com reported that Bell said Darnold can create plays for him with his legs.

Then, the story added this quote from Bell, where he insists that he will improve as a player now that he is with Darnold.

“Sam’s going to make me a better player just ‘cause of the fact that he’s so mobile,” Bell said. “He’s going to create opportunities for me that I wouldn’t usually have and same thing for me, I’m going to make opportunities for him that he’s never had really before too. We’re going to kind of bounce off each other and I think it’s going to be a special duo in the backfield.”

Easy, Le’ V. You are buttering up your new quarterback and fan base. We get it. But let’s be real.

Roethlisberger has never been Michael Vick when it comes to breaking downfield. Last year, he ran for only 98 yards on 31 attempts. But he always has been renowned for keeping plays alive with movement and elusiveness inside the pocket.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mobility, Sam Darnold, had 138 yards on 44 carries. Roethlisberger averaged 3.2 yards per carry to Darnold’s 3.1.

So let’s dial down Darnold’s scrambling prowess as the key to unlocking some “next level” of your game compared to what you had in Black and Gold.

But, hey. It’s Le’ V. Never let facts get in the way of a good rap lyric.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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