Tim Crone: Acquisition of Bell could be good for Chiefs
Brett Veach and Andy Reid will not be satisfied until they have all the talent they can get to surround star quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
The move to sign Le’Veon Bell is speculative because of Bell’s reputation as self-centered rather than team-centered, and his skills may not be the same as they were three years ago with the Steelers.
Last year they brought veteran star running back Lasean McCoy into their high-octane offense. He had difficulty hanging onto the football at the end of the year. However, he played in 13 games and had 465 yards rushing with 101 carries and three touchdowns. He was a productive veteran back on a cheap contract.
The Jets will have to pay for most of Bell’s salary this season. The combination of Bell and the Jets organization was a train wreck. The Jets complained that he was a cry baby and not team-oriented. However, the entire Jets coaching staff seems to be lost in the wilderness and Bell has not been the only player mentioned in the incompetency. The Jets are currently the worst team in the league.
The Chiefs definitely needed another solid running back to share the duties with rookie sensation Clyde Edwards-Helaire. You cannot get through a 16-game regular season schedule and the playoffs just one reliable running back. When Damien Williams decided to sit out the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chiefs were immediately in need of another running back who could soak up 150 carries for about 500 yards and be a pass catching threat out of the backfield.
Bell fits all those prerequisites and has played at an extremely high level for several years in the league. In his last three years with the Steelers he was the best all-around back in the league. The Chiefs lost to the Steelers in the 2017 playoffs mainly because of his skills. Bell was a one-man wrecking crew in that game.
Right now the Chiefs have Darrel Williams as their No. 2 back. He is a particularly good third down back and does a good job pass blocking. He is also a good special teams player, but he cannot carry the load if the No. 1 guy goes down.
So far Darwin Thompson has shown some flashes that he can play at the NFL level, but he has had trouble with fumbles and is not as good as Williams in other areas of need on special teams and blocking on third down.
The Chiefs are fortunate to have incredible athletes at the skill positions, but as an offensive machine you can never have enough skilled athletes. That is the philosophy of coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach, who have built this team. The more weapons the team has, the bigger the explosion.
Even if Bell can be an incredibly good second back in this offense, the team can be unstoppable. He has that ability while Williams and Thompson do not.
Edwards-Helaire has done a great job so far this season, but it will be tough over the long haul for a rookie to take that beating. If Bell can carry the pill 100-125 times for 500 rushing yards and add another 40-50 catches in the passing game for 400 yards, this pickup will pay big dividends for the 2020 team.
Bell is usually a mental case and an “I” guy, but Reid is great with taking veteran players at the end of their career to get every little bit of game left in them. Bell knows his reputation. He is paid by the Jets’ contract and knows if he really wants to stay in the league he will need to do whatever it takes. Veach likes to pick up running backs on the cheap. It is typically a win-win.
Edwards-Helaire has trouble inside the red zone because of his size and Bell’s strength with the Steelers was his ability to score in the red zone with the run or pass. This year, the team may not need help in the red zone, but you have to love the organization for always being on the lookout for players who can make the team even better.
• The quote of the week comes from Hall of Fame NFL receiver Don Maynard: “It’s like the old story. You might be able to fool your coaches, or your teammates, or your opponents. But you can never fool yourself in anything. I believe that the more critical you are of your own performance, the higher standards you have, the better you become at what you do.” These might be good words of advice for Le’Veon Bell.
– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.