New Cornerback Exudes Confidence

When Josh Bell recalls his time in Denver, he points to his daily matchups with Brandon Marshall and a big game against former Packers quarterback Brett Favre. Bell tells Packer Report why he thinks he can help a secondary that just lost Al Harris.

There's no doubt in Josh Bell's mind that he's got the ability to come to the rescue of a Green Bay Packers secondary that just lost longtime stalwart Al Harris.

And there's no doubt in Bell's mind that he wouldn't have been sitting in the Packers' auxiliary locker room on Tuesday had he not suffered a knee injury in the Denver Broncos' preseason finale.

Asked if he would have made the Broncos' final roster without that injury, Bell rubs the rather-lengthy beard extending from his chin. The body language practically screamed, "You're kidding, right?"

"I like to be humble," Bell said, drawing laughs from those around him. "Yes, I feel I would have been a strong contributor behind (starters) Andre Goodman and Champ Bailey."

As an undrafted rookie with Denver last year, Bell began last year on the Broncos' practice squad. He wound up being the nickel corner for four games and starting for five when Bailey was injured. In one of those games, Bell broke up three passes to help Denver hold off Brett Favre and the New York Jets.

"My family loves that game," he said. "They're like, ‘Brett Favre couldn't get to you. He tried to the whole end of the game, every play and the whole last drive. I was like, ‘Yeah.' I take pride in having those three or four bat-downs against Brett."

Bell has played in only nine regular-season games but he says he's up to the challenge of filling a key role for a team with playoff intentions. Every day at practice last year, he went up against quarterback Jay Cutler and prolific receivers Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal. The way he figures it, facing Matthew Stafford (or Daunte Culpepper) or Joe Flacco or Cutler (minus those receivers) or Kurt Warner won't be more difficult than what he faced at practice.

"I think I've been blessed with great confidence from God. If you put in the work, you get the results," Bell said. "My eyes don't get too big on too many quarterbacks and receivers. When I played against Brett last year, I was like, ‘Whoo, he might come to me because I'm a rookie over here.' But once you get in the game, it's just like what I practiced all week. I know the routes they're going to run, I know his tendencies. More than anything, being able to play nine games as a rookie, where I felt maybe I'd play the practice squad the whole year, I believe that gives me more confidence than anything. It installs swagger that, hey, I've played in the NFL and I've started in the NFL and I wasn't just out there as a slouch getting burned the whole game."

Since being released by the Broncos, who couldn't afford to wait for Bell to get healthy, Bell said he's been "killing himself" to get himself ready for this opportunity. He had worked out recently for Minnesota, Atlanta and Cleveland. Those who know him, like Broncos Update's Michael John Schon, says Bell has above-average speed and the talent to develop into a decent starter "under the right circumstances."

Bell broke into the NFL when San Diego signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Baylor in 2008. He didn't make the team but was signed to the Broncos' practice squad. Those stints in San Diego and Denver, both of whom run 3-4 defenses, will help ease his transition in Green Bay. A chemistry major at Baylor, Bell certainly isn't lacking in the IQ department.

"Not at all. Really, it's just getting terminology and learning the checks," Bell said. "It's easy to line up and say, ‘We're going to have this coverage today. It's Cover-3, and this is the word we use for Cover-3.' But when you go out and have to adjust to motion and a scheme of an offense, that's where you need to catch up on things. But I know Coach Whitt will get me right. As long as I put the work in, put the time in, I can go out there on Thursday."

While Bell probably can help on special teams on Thursday, defensive coordinator Dom Capers downplayed the possibility that Bell could contribute immediately on defense. Jarrett Bush has been immersing himself in the system since Capers was hired and Brandon Underwood has been studying the playbook since being drafted in April. That's quite the mental head-start.

"I watched him at practice today and thought he looked pretty good in practice for the first day out there," said Capers, who admitted he didn't know much about Bell beyond his practice impressions. "He's got a little quickness; saw him run with a couple guys up the field. Other than that, I do not know a lot about him. He's kind of tried to dive in and start to learn things. There's a lot to learn."


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