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Jets Add Gore; What Does It Mean For Le'Veon Bell?
As noted this morning, Jets head coach Adam Gase said recently that he wants to lighten the load on Le'Veon Bell this season and the team has found a running back to do that.

The Jets are signing Frank Gore to a one-year contract.

In addition to providing an experienced hand behind Bell, the move marks a reunion for Gore and Gase. Gore played for Gase when Gase was the head coach in Miami during the 2018 season. He ran 156 times for 722 yards that season and then moved on to Buffalo last year. Gore ran 166 times for 599 yards and two touchdowns for the Bills.

The coming season will be Gore’s 16th NFL campaign and he comes into the year in third place in all-time rushing yards. With more than 1,300 yards between him and Walter Payton, he’d need to do a lot more than lighten Bell’s load to move up another spot on the ladder.

So what should we expect in that regard?

As Gase told (well in advance of adding Gore), replacing Bell wasn't the plan. They simply want to give their primary rusher a partner.

As's Adam Maya suggested, "If last year was any indication, they really need to."

"I do think we have some guys that can help maybe lessen the load on [Bell] to where it's not all on him," Gase told's Rich Cimini. "Hopefully, we can get some of the younger backs to where we can make a good one-two punch to where we can really excel instead of feeling like it's just all on him all the time."

The latter formula failed in 2019.

Bell averaged a career-low 3.2 yards per carry last season, which was also the worst mark in franchise history (minimum 175 carries). And that was with him averaging the fewest attempts in his career (16.3). The former All-Pro still had 245 more touches than the next Jets RB (Bilal Powell), the fourth biggest disparity in the league behind Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette. They're all at least three years younger than the 28-year-old Bell.

Up to this point, free agency and the draft didn't deliver obvious answers to New York's lack of backfield depth. Bell's backups include Kenneth Dixon, Josh Adams and rookie La'Mical Perine.

Go ahead and put Gore at the head of that list and behind Bell.

Beyond that, Maya notes that help could be on the way in the form of better blocking and a revamped passing attack led by third-year QB Sam Darnold. The Jets added speedy targets Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims to complement possession receiver Jamison Crowder. Moreover, promising tight end Chris Herndon is on track to return after missing virtually all of last season to suspension and injury.

Those additions, combined with new offensive tackles George Fant and rookie Mekhi Becton, should bolster a Jets unit that ranked last in total offense, 31st in scoring offense and 31st in rushing in 2019.

"If you have the vertical threats like I think we're going to have with the wide receivers now, hey, maybe we'll start seeing two-high zone instead of them just focusing on one guy in the receiving corps," Gase said. "You've got some guys who can do some different things there and stretch the field vertically. That was something Chris was really good at.

"Now, all of a sudden, Le'Veon is seeing lighter boxes, which he didn't see a lot last year. We saw loaded boxes for the most part. We didn't do a good enough job winning in the passing game to open some of that stuff up."

Gase went on to suggest that last season was a "big-time learning experience," adding that his goal is to "emphasize what [Bell] does extremely well and get him the ball in those situations."

What are they?

In Bell's last great season (2016), he ran well out of every formation -- shotgun, I-formation, single-back with the quarterback under center, you name it. As Cimini notes, it's Gase's job to figure out what Bell does best for the Jets. He said he's digging into Bell's old Pittsburgh tape to look for answers, which is fine -- except it sounds a lot like what he said before last season.

Gase also revealed that he is planning to use more outside-zone runs than last season, meaning more stretch plays.

Bell certainly has the patience and vision for an outside-zone scheme, but he's not a classic, one-cut runner -- the style that works best on stretch plays. He's at his best when going downhill.

Perhaps an equally important question: How would Bell react to fewer touches?

According to Cimini, the former Steeler would probably say he's cool with it -- here comes the qualifier -- as long as the team is winning.

The Jets are paying him $13.5 million this season, fully guaranteed, so it would be ridiculous to make him a rotational back. To be clear, Gase wasn't saying that at all; he said they could "lessen the load" on Bell by mixing in others -- a list now headed by Gore.