Le’Veon Bell is used to shouldering a heavy workload. Prior to 2020, he averaged 24 touches (19.1 carries, 4.9 receptions) per game in seven NFL seasons.
This year, he’s with a new team. Of course, the former second-round pick out of Michigan State was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he spent six seasons. He then spent a year with the New York Jets before ending up with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Bell has been an important part of the KC offense, but he’s been forced to work behind rookie first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Well, Edwards-Helaire is now dealing with an injury that will keep him out this weekend against the Atlanta Falcons.
We’ll still see some Darrel Williams — and maybe even a little Darwin Thompson — but Bell should now be the driving force at running back. According to Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, that shouldn’t be a problem.
On Thursday, Bieniemy spoke about his confidence in Bell.
“Le’Veon Bell has played in this league long enough to know football,” Bieniemy said. “Now he may be learning a different language, in a sense. But when it’s all said and done, football is football. He’ll be able to connect the two dots, if that language doesn’t quite snap in. I’m not concerned with Le’Veon at all. Like I said, the next man is up.”
Bieniemy wasn’t done, though. He explained what makes Bell such a special runner.
“He’s smart,” Bieniemy added. “He’s intelligent. He takes the game home. He’s a football junkie. He just gets it, and that’s the thing that I love about him — just his football intellect. And on top of that, he’s always asking questions because he wants to know exactly what to do and how to do it the right way.”
Bell has the ability to make an impact as a runner and as a receiving in Kansas City’s offense. And with Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and others playing around him, it will be difficult for opposing defenses to give him any extra attention.
The Atlanta Falcons defense hasn’t been great at limiting running backs, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Bell have success on Sunday.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.