Adam Gase refused to run his offense through Le’Veon Bell even though the running back was arguably the most talented player on his roster. Nobody knows more about getting the most out of Bell than former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley, and Haley says the way Gase utilized Bell left him “cringing.”
Haley, who was the OC in Pittsburgh during Bell’s best seasons with the team, spoke about Bell’s time in New York during an appearance on “The Albert Breer Show” podcast this week. He was highly critical of Gase.
“When you have players with the special ability that they have, you got to make them feel and trust that you’re giving them an opportunity to be the best they can be,” Haley said, as transcribed by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “So, the frustration for me watching him in New York is … I’m cringing saying, ‘They’re just lining this guy in the (I-formation) and they’re not utilizing’ — and I’m not trying to be overly critical — but you’re not using the ability that this kid has. Because he’s not just a running back.”
Gase said during the summer that he planned to better use Bell’s pass-catching ability in New York’s offense, but that never materialized. Haley said players can see right through that “fraudulent talk” and quickly lose faith in a coach.
“Your best players … they better believe and trust that you’re maximizing their abilities,” Haley added. “In Kansas City, what I’ve seen from those coaches is that they do that. They got a lot of mouths to feed, but they’ve been one of the better teams that utilize the different talents that they have. Andy Reid and the staff will understand and see what they have in Le’Veon and do the things necessary to let him help you.”
Haley also praised Bell for being a “great teammate” who was willing to do anything the Steelers asked of him.
Bell made it clear toward the end of his Jets tenure that he was unhappy with Gase and company, and who can blame him? There were signs that Gase never wanted him from the start, and the coach seemed determined to prove he can win without Bell being a workhorse. He failed miserably at that.