It didn't take Joshua Bell long to understand that being a weak side halfback in a passing league like the CFL wasn't going to be an easy job.
That realization put a smile on the face of the second-year B.C. Lion.
"More is better for me," Bell said after the Lions' practised for their game Friday against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
|Answering the Bell|
"You are licking your chops as a defensive back. You want more opportunities to get the ball thrown to you. That means more opportunities for interceptions."
Bell had one of his best games of the season Sunday when the Lions used a last-play, 42-yard field goal by Paul McCallum to defeat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 24-22.
The six-foot, 177-pound native of Los Angeles pelted the Riders like a prairie hail storm. He collected five tackles, two of them for a loss of yards, and had a pair of big knocks against sure-handed Saskatchewan receivers Chris Getzlaf and Taj Smith.
Always a perfectionist, Bell believes one reason he was so busy is because he made some technical mistakes that Saskatchewan quarterback Darian Durant tried to exploit.
"I gave them a window of opportunity and Durant took it," he said. "I was able to be in position when the ball got there to make the play."
Bell brings speed and aggression to a veteran Lions' secondary. He also is a cerebral player who spends hours in the film room watching receivers, learning their tendencies.
"He's young and hungry," said Mark Washington, B.C.'s defensive backs coach. "He's not afraid to sling his body around.
"The biggest attribute to his game is he studies the game. He understands what the receivers are going to do from studying."
The 28-year-old Bell has 33 tackles and one interception this season. Washington praised his ability to adapt to the Canadian game with its longer, wider field and different rules.
"Every rule in this league is pitted against you" as a defensive back, said Washington.
"All the different skills and all the different things you have been taught in the U.S., when you come up here you have to lose them."
Bell said the biggest adjustment hasn't been the extra man or the more ground to cover. For him, it's getting used to receivers being able to start running toward the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped.
"The waggle is a whole different world," he said with a laugh. "That speeds your heart rate up.
"The waggle is something you really have to adjust to. It's almost like you are playing chicken with the receiver."
Bell spent time with both the NFL Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers before joining the Lions as a free agent in May 2012. He spent 13 games on the reserve list, and another three on the injured list, but still managed to be noticed by the coaches.
"It's not the fact he was here, it was the way he was here," said Washington. "He worked hard every day.