In the 4th quarter of the Jets win over the Cardinals this past Sunday, Bell got his first opportunity to do something with the ball in his hands when quarterback Greg McElroy swung a pass to him. Making the catch, Bell saw that the outside of the field was bottled up and tried to cut into the middle of the field where he found “the teeth of their defense.” Bell fumbled the ball and the Cardinals would get a field goal to cut the game to 7-6, a score line that would prove to be the game’s final outcome.
After hearing about ball security all this week, a big thing around the Jets facility right now, the Jets running back knows he has some ground to make up.
“It felt good to be out there, playing offense, playing running but what I walked from that game was holding onto the football. I could have cost the team the game, I’m lucky,” Bell told The Jets Blog. “Now I need to earn their trust and show that I can hold onto the ball no matter what, that holding onto the ball is the most important thing to me.”
Bell was signed by the Jets in mid-November and made one previous appearance in their win at St. Louis but contributed only on special teams. The numbers are on his side that he will bounce back from the fumble: In his three previous years in Chicago, Bell fumbled just three times and lost just one of those fumbles.
He’s a speedy back with good feet and a bit of shiftiness to him, plus he brings along the aforementioned added bonus of being a contributor on special teams. He doesn’t want to be “just” a special teams guy though so last week’s opportunity to get a look in the backfield was a great opportunity for him.
But now in light of the fumble, Bell must adjust that thinking.
“In Chicago I was primarily a special teams guy. I didn’t get to touch the field unless there was injury but going out there on Sunday, working at it on offense was great,” Bell said.
“Obviously now, I need to go out there and earn or maybe re-earn the trust of the coaches, of the coaching staff that I can do the job and not lose the ball. That they can trust me.”
Prior to signing with the Jets, Bell had tryouts in Green Bay and Houston. He was scheduled to work out with the Giants the day after his tryout with the Jets but was immediately offered a contract by his new team.
Kristian R. Dyer is a Jets beat reporter for Metro New York and contributes to The Jets Blog. Follow him at @KristianRDyer for Jets breaking news and info from Florham Park.