Le’Veon Bell provided a little more perspective on just how bad of a hire Adam Gase was for the Jets and quarterback Sam Darnold.
Gang Green brought in the then-former Dolphins coach in 2019, tasking him with developing Darnold, the third-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft out of USC.
Instead, Darnold and the team seemed to slowly regress under Gase – throwing for a then career-low 2,208 yards, nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2020 in the coach’s second and final season. The Jets won just two games in the second-worst campaign in franchise history and Darnold was traded to the Carolina Panthers after the season.
“Bro, the team wasn’t that great, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like if Coach (Mike) Tomlin (of the Steelers) was coaching that team, we win nine games at least,” Bell said during an appearance last week on the “Steel Here” podcast.
“It’s to the point where Sam Darnold don’t even know like the actual line’s protections because he’s so confused about our offense because the coach is confusing him.”
Darnold, after two lackluster years in Carolina, is trying to revive his career in San Francisco where he will start the year as Brock Purdy’s backup.
Bell, had signed with the Jets as a free agent — despite Gase’s reported protestations — after sitting out the 2018 season in a contract dispute with the Steelers and never regained his Pro Bowl form with Gang Green.
He offered an explanation for why things turned out so poorly as he found out how important good coaching is from his first week in New York, going so far as to describe Gase as a “terrible” play-caller.
Bell, who hasn’t played in the league since 2021, also revealed in the podcast interview that he made a mistake not signing his franchise tag with the Steelers in 2018.
His search for a guaranteed contract led him to the Jets the next year.
He also revealed he used to smoke weed before playing games in the NFL.
“Looking back on this, that’s what I did,” Bell said. “When I was playing football, I smoked, bro. Even before the games, I’d smoke and I’d go out there and run for 150, two (touchdowns).”