The Jets plan to get Le’Veon Bell into a preseason game.
Adam Gase opted not to play the running back in a 31-22 loss to the Giants in Thursday’s preseason opener, but he said Bell will get some game action before the Jets open the regular season Sept. 8 against the Bills.
“There will be a time and a place that we’ll get him in a live game,” Gase said after the game. “We’re just talking through it.”
Bell hasn’t played in an NFL game since January 2018, when he was with the Steelers. The three-time Pro Bowl running back, who usually is among the league leaders in touches, missed all of last season because of a contract dispute with Pittsburgh.
The Jets don’t want to risk any injury to their new star, so when he does get into a game, he likely won’t play much. The way Gase was talking leading up to Thursday’s game, it didn’t come as a surprise that he held him out.
“He’s taken a lot of hits over his career,” he said. “The way he’s been practicing, that has really been the important part for us — making sure he’s in the kind of game shape he needs to be. I feel like he looks pretty good. He’s in good shape.”
The Jets, who signed Bell to a four-year, $52.5 million contract in the offseason, have three preseason games left, but starters generally don’t play in the last one. The third preseason game is the one that most closely resembles a real game, with the starters playing more than a series or two.
Quarterback Sam Darnold and the first-team offense played only one series against the Giants. Ty Montgomery started in Bell’s place and had three touches on a seven-play scoring drive.
The Jets will play in Atlanta next Thursday and will host New Orleans in the third preseason game Aug. 24. Gase wouldn’t reveal the game in which Bell will play.
“We’re going to take it week to week and come to a consensus at the end of the week before we play a game,” he said.
Rookie lineman Quinnen Williams was quiet in his first NFL preseason game. He played 11 snaps and had one tackle.
“It was amazing just to get out there and compete and go up against some guys I know nothing about,” Williams said. His likely playing partners, defensive end Leonard Williams and tackle Steve McLendon, both were held out.
Blake Cashman finished with four tackles and Jachai Polite had two.
Undrafted 5-7 rookie Greg Dortch had a good debut. He caught four passes for 20 yards and a touchdown and returned a punt 32 yards. Dortch, out of Wake Forest, has a chance to make the team as a punt returner.
“You can see he is fearless,” Gase said. “He’s is going to stick his face in the fan and usually make somebody miss and get vertical. If we have any kind of crease, he is going to get as many yards as he can.”
Third-string quarterback Davis Webb clearly is on the bubble to make the 53-man roster, and he didn’t help himself Thursday.
He was 2-for-7 passing for 11 yards with two interceptions. One was a pick-6 by Babylon’s Jake Carlock.
The Jets’ other three quarterbacks — Darnold, backup Trevor Siemian and Luke Falk — went a combined 26-for-32 for 214 yards and three touchdowns. Each had a passer rating of at least 107.6. Webb’s quarterback rating against his former team was 0.0.
Cornerback was considered a weakness for the Jets, and the backups didn’t do anything to disprove that. Parry Nickerson was beaten and missed a tackle, and Derrick Jones and Kyron Brown blew coverages . . . Gase indicated there might have been an issue with the snap or hold on one of Chandler Catanzaro’s two missed extra points. Catanzaro made one PAT and a field goal.