Le'Veon Bell is entering his second season with Sam Darnold as his teammate, and the New York Jets running back says he's noticed big changes in his QB. Bell said Darnold "looks a lot different" at Jets camp as he continues preparations for the regular season.
"He's a lot more comfortable," Bell said of Darnold, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. "Sometimes coach (Adam) Gase will call the play wrong and then Sam will correct it. Like, 'Do you mean to flip that?'"
Bell mimicked what Gase recently said about Darnold's improvement as it relates to managing the Jets' offense. Specifically, Gase said that Darnold is moving the huddle at a much quicker pace. Bell said that Darnold's command of the huddle is the biggest difference he's seen from his quarterback.
"Sam's not really a rah-rah guy … But the way he does it, you want to follow him," Bell said. "You want to listen to him and work hard for him."
Bell and Darnold will both benefit from New York's revamped offensive line that includes six new players. In free agency, the Jets signed tackle George Fant, center Connor McGovern, and guards Greg Van Roten and Josh Andrews. The team also re-signed Alex Lewis, who made 12 starts in 2019, his first season in New York. During the draft, the Jets used the 11th overall pick on tackle Mekhi Becton, who has made a quick impression during camp. The team then spent a fourth-round pick on tackle Cameron Clark, who is currently dealing with a shoulder injury.
"Our focus is doing everything we can to help Sam succeed," Jets general manager Douglas said earlier this offseason, via the team's official website. "The one thing we didn't want was a situation where he was just going to have to be under fire all the time with protection issues. We're going to keep it simple with guys that are smart, tough and versatile. We're going to keep addressing that moving forward and we're going to keep addressing playmakers moving forward."
Speaking of playmakers, the Jets have made upgrades at receiver with the selection of former Baylor standout Denzel Mims with the 59th overall pick. They also signed veteran Breshad Perriman, a former first-round pick who is developed a quick rapport with Darnold.
"I feel like Sam is great," Perriman said of Darnold, via the New York Post. "His throwing ability is crazy. I love the way he throws the ball. The touch he has on the ball is unreal, like so receiver friendly. Just his personality and the way he's able to take control of the room and the offense and the team, it's crazy. Him being so reserved and to still have that authority when it's time to go out there and let the bullets fly.
"Him as a quarterback, man, it's a receiver's dream."
The Jets also added pieces to their backfield, spending a fourth-round pick on former Florida running back La'Mical Perine. The team also signed future Hall of Fame running back Frank Gore, whose legendary work ethic has already rubbed off on Bell, who said last week that he is in the best shape of his career.
While he is embracing the chance to learn from Gore, Bell, a veteran player in his own right, shared some advice he has given Darnold, who is looking to play in all 16 games for the first time in his career.
"We just got to make sure he stays healthy," Bell said of Darnold. "I told him... 'No bars.'"