FLORHAM PARK, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 23: Sam Darnold #14 and Le'Veon Bell #26 of the New York Jets run drills at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on August 23, 2020 in Florham Park, New Jersey.
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell revealed his lighthearted plan for quarterback Sam Darnold Monday: “no bars.”

Robby Sabo

Blowing a 16-point second-half (16-3 fourth-quarter lead) was not enough. The C.J. Mosley injury did not end the misery. For New York Jets fans in early September 2019, experiencing a total shot to the solar plexus had to be expected after the Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Not only was it expected, but it also happened. Sam Darnold’s mono diagnosis did the trick.

What? Mono? A young second-year quarterback comes down with the kissing disease? Obviously, teammate ribbing was on the order following his return, and even now, a year later, that overall feel continues to take hold just a bit.


When asked about Darnold Monday morning, running back Le’Veon Bell lauded his quarterback, of course; but he also revealed the lighthearted key to the 2020 season.

“We just have to make sure he stays healthy,” Bell jokingly told reporters. “I told him, ‘No bars.'”

Darnold, 23, enters the 2020 season with a lot to prove. Missing three games his rookie year due to an ankle injury and another three a year ago for reasons we already discussed, the USC product has finally been equipped with a first-round offensive lineman and a five-man unit that could do him wonders.

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He also comes to the party with a motivated back who cannot help but notice the difference in No. 14 this summer.

“He looks a lot different,” Bell added. “He’s a lot more comfortable. He has taken great command of the huddle. I think that’s the biggest difference from year two to three.”

Bell understands who his quarterback is. Unlike Tim Tebow or Tom Brady—who’ll smack helmets with a teammate 73 times during pregame—Darnold brings a calming presence, and that’s OK.

In fact, that may even play into the Jets’ advantage in many ways.

“Sam is not really a rah-rah guy. (He’s) not really loud and he’s not really a yell guy. He’s real monotone and kind of calm. Everybody goes about their way differently. The way he does it, you want to follow him. You want to listen to him and work hard for him.”

Bell also mentioned how Darnold seems to be picking up on everything that much quicker this season. If Adam Gase allows him certain freedoms presnap, Darnold is much more “on it” this year as opposed to last.

Bell’s 3.2 yards per carry in his first Jets season marks a career-worst. While the back has already admitted his overall shape is amazing this season as opposed to 2019, a great deal of the disappointment involves the porous offensive line.

Joe Douglas’ new unit combined with a Sam Darnold who’s set to avoid the bars—basically just traveling from the team facility to his apartment every day—Le’Veon Bell is ready for some 2020 excitement.

“Sam looks amazing this year,” Bell said. “It’s going to be fun.”


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