Le'Veon Bell was mainly an observer in his first practice with the Jets on Tuesday. He did participate in limited drills, like 7-on-7, but head coach Adam Gase said the team was going to be "smart" with how much they deployed him.
Still, Gase was impressed with what he saw from his Pro Bowl running back on Day 1.
"I thought he did a good job," Gase said. "He jumped right in there -- I think he wants to get as many reps as he can. He's trying to pick up the terminology and get up to date as fast as possible. It's hard to kinda cram it all in a short time, but he's done a good job asking the right questions. Very engaged in practice, asking the right questions in practice."
Those "right questions" opened Gase's eyes to the type of player Bell really is. He may not have been showcasing his signature jump cuts and patient running style, but the way he observed the plays happening in front of him had the coaching staff surprised.
"His vision when he's watching the run plays, the comments that he was making I think got a couple of us like 'Wow, that's a really good point that he's making there,'" Gase said. "Obviously his experience in his ability as a runner, we heard it vocally yesterday."
As he stood behind the full team drills, Gase said Bell would notice a certain crease that could open up if the running back would stay to one side. That was just one example of what the 27-year-old saw, and even more impressive is the fact that it was his first day seeing the offense in action up close.
Bell admitted yesterday that "of course" he was behind compared to his other teammates that have been at OTAs. However, Gase knows he is soaking up everything he possibly can, and those in-depth questions about the terminology and why certain pieces on plays are doing a specific job will only make him better by the day.
Gase probably imagined how Bell staying for OTAs after this mandatory minicamp would help even more, but that won't be the plan. Bell will return to Miami to prep for training camp over the next six weeks.
It might not be the ideal scenario, but from what he's seen already, Gase is convinced Bell isn't that far behind the rest of the team.
"I feel like he's really sharp and he's picking things up very quickly. ...He's a quick study," he said.