Breece Hall, NY Jets, Return
Breece Hall, New York Jets, Getty Images

With Aaron Rodgers out for the season, Breece Hall needs to be the focal point of the New York Jets’ offense

It was a crushing blow that nobody saw coming. After four plays as a member of the New York Jets, Aaron Rodgers tore his left Achilles and was lost for the season.

Rodgers was expected to elevate the Jets’ passing game and finally give the likes of Garrett Wilson a quarterback that can consistently get him the ball. He was supposed to open up a new element of the Jets’ offense and allow them to reach a level that puts them in a position to compete with other high-flying offenses.

That is not the reality anymore. Instead, the offense must now be powered by the team’s rushing attack – which means it’s time for Breece Hall to be counted on as the engine of the Jets’ offense.

Hall showed his ability to carry an offense in his rookie year. He averaged 5.8 yards per rush attempt, leading all running backs with 80+ carries. Hall accomplished this in spite of subpar blocking, as he also led qualified running backs with 4.1 yards after contact per carry.

Not only did Hall dominate on the ground, but he also showed the potential to thrive as a pass catcher. Hall averaged 11.5 yards per reception on 19 catches, ranking second among running backs with 15+ receptions.

Hall’s season came to an early end due to an ACL tear. While Hall recovered in time to play in the 2023 season opener, Hall was not expected to replicate his rookie season production immediately. The addition of Dalvin Cook was intended to take some of the workload off of Hall, which would allow him to slowly work his way back to peak form.

While that plan made sense, Rodgers’ injury has shifted the weight of the offense back onto Hall’s shoulders. Luckily for the Jets, it seems that he is way ahead of schedule.

In his first game action since October 2022, Hall tallied 127 yards rushing on 10 attempts and gained 20 yards on his only reception. He did all of that with only 17 offensive snaps (32%). Cook led the Jets’ backfield with 27 snaps (50%).

Altogether, Hall was by far the NFL’s most efficient running back in Week 1. He led all running backs in yards per carry (12.7), yards after contact per carry (13.1), missed tackles forced per carry, (0.5), EPA per carry (0.38), and rushing yards over expected per carry (8.1).

Nobody else was in Hall’s stratosphere.

Even while not at 100 percent, Hall picked up where he left off. His decision-making, cutting ability, and speed were all on display. Hall ran through and away from tackles whenever he had an opportunity to touch the ball.

Hall’s career is off to a record-setting start. With 590 rushing yards on 90 carries so far, Hall is averaging 6.6 yards per carry in the NFL. It ties him with Adrian Peterson for the most yards per carry through the first eight games of a player’s career, among those with 90+ carries.

After his Monday night performance, Hall discussed whether he was surprised by the level of play he showed.

“I mean yes and no. Once I got on the field, I was like, ‘I’m still that dude. Anytime I touch the ball, I can do whatever I want with it.’ I always had that mentality, but I was just happy the coaches stuck with me today,” said Hall.

“They said I was going to have a pitch count before the game, but I told them I don’t want a pitch count, but if I have to, I will. So, they kind of just rolled with me, Dalvin, and MC (Michael Carter) carrying it. So, it was cool.”

Going forward, the running game should now be considered the focal point of the Jets’ offense. With Zach Wilson under center, the passing game will not be as reliable as it would have been with Rodgers. A contending team, which the Jets are, does not want an unproven quarterback throwing games away with turnovers.

Alongside the team’s staunch defense, the team’s rushing attack will create a “smashmouth football” identity for the Jets to rally behind. Their style will be to beat up teams in the trenches on defense and wear them down with the run game on offense, hopefully hitting on some impactful passes as a result of the run game’s effectiveness.

With that in mind, Breece Hall’s prowess as a runner is arguably the key for this identity to work. The Jets offense will go where he does, and if Monday night is any indication, he has the talent to take them very far.

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Graduated Summa Cum Laude from Fairleigh Dickinson University in May 2023 with a Communications Degree, a concentration in Multimedia Journalism, and a minor in Broadcasting. Wrote for for two years. Hosts a Knicks podcast for Let's Talk Knicks and contributes for Inside the Iggles and Shea Hello Media.
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