Flash back to August, when Mike Bell made his home debut against the Tennessee Titans. What I’ll remember most about that night is not the fact that the undrafted rookie roared — and left the crowd roaring — for 73 yards and two touchdowns, but wide receiver Rod Smith’s reminder to the young back of a clear rule of Broncodom:
Don’t ever run out of bounds of your own volition.
“It’s been a rule for a long time, but we had to reiterate it this year — it’s that no one on this football team has the right to run out of bounds on his own unless it’s a quarterback,” wide receiver Rod Smith said that night. “That’s it. It’s always been that way.”
Flash forward just over two months to Sunday’s game against Indianapolis, when Bell filled in for Tatum Bell and gained many of his 136 yards after contact, while gaining even more by adeptly side-stepping tacklers. A few yards away from Mike Bell’s pulsating running, Smith couldn’t help but be pleased.
“I was glad to see that he got an opportunity,” Smith said, “and at the same time, he took advantage of it, because in this business, you never know when that’s going to happen.”
Nor does Smith or Mike Bell know when it might happen again. Tatum Bell has practiced both days this week, is listed as probable, and the younger Bell understands his place; Tatum Bell, after all, was merely the AFC’s leading runner before turf toe forced him to the sidelines for much of the second half last Sunday.
“I think me playing the role I’ve been playing is going to be all right for now,” Mike Bell told NFL Network. You can watch the entire Thursday afternoon interview by clicking here.
But at least the Broncos — and Mike Bell — know that the rookie is ready if called upon again.
More early Friday notes:
- As pleased as Smith was with Mike Bell, the result overshadowed it, as he discussed at his weekly tete-a-tete with the local media Thursday. “At the same time, we lost the game. Last week, it doesn’t really matter what we did, because we lost. I’d rather us score under 20 points and win, but at the same time, we tried to get to that point we’ve been trying to get to all year, and that’s being able to be productive as an offense, and win the football games on offense. Our defense has been carrying us all year, and I think it’s time for us to take over as an offense and start dominating football games, so when those guys shut them out, it looks like blowouts, and if they don’t play as well as they’re used to, we still win the game. And it’s all about winning the game.”
- You might have read Nate Jackson’s journal entries on this here site. This week’s edition of Broncos Magazine Weekly focuses on how he cobbles together his entries; click here to read on about the Broncos’ resident creative writer.
- Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger says that his team’s frustrating start and a four-interception day at Oakland last Sunday haven’t dulled his confidence. Click to Steelers.com for more.
- Looks like the vast majority of this fine land will be getting Sunday’s game on their local CBS affiliate.