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Why NY Jets’ Breece Hall could become NFL’s best back in 2024

Breece Hall, NY Jets, RB, Rank, Stats
Breece Hall, New York Jets, Getty Images

Breece Hall has a chance to reach his ceiling for the New York Jets

What a time to be a New York Jets fan.

Or not. It’s nerve-wracking as much as exhilarating, especially after 2023.

One Jets player must be licking his lips in anticipation, though. Breece Hall has fought heavy adversity through his first two seasons in the NFL. In Year 3, his battles have a chance to pay off big-time.

The whole league knows that Hall has special talent. His “Breece Lightning” touchdown put the NFL on notice right before a torn ACL ended his rookie season. His 83-yard burst in primetime against Buffalo in Week 1 of 2023 told the league that even a hampered Breece Hall is a dangerous one.

With the Jets’ additions on offense, Hall has a chance to put on a clinic in 2024. Not only can he reach his ceiling, but he can take his place as the NFL’s best running back. He may finally have the situation in place to outpace even Christian McCaffrey.

He’s fully healthy

The Jets slow-walked Hall into the lineup for the first four weeks of 2023. Even after they removed the shackles, 2023 was always about the “year after” a torn ACL. Statistically, that doesn’t usually work out too well.

In 2024, though, there’s none of that.

He finally has blocking

The Jets’ run-blocking was the worst in the NFL in 2023, according to ESPN Analytics’ run-block win rate metric. Hall endured 13 different offensive linemen blocking for him, including practice squad players Xavier Newman and Chris Glaser.

Hall made it work in 2022 and 2023 with one competent run-blocker — Alijah Vera-Tucker (regardless of the position he played). With Vera-Tucker, he averaged 6.08 yards per carry; without him, 3.97.

Now, he could have five competent run-blockers, including Vera-Tucker. He’ll have five blockers who excel at pulling.

These are the kinds of plays Hall puts up when you give him a seam.

…and he was already pretty efficient without it

Hall tied for fifth among all running backs with 0.7 rush yards over expected (RYOE) per carry in 2023. If he did that with poor blocking and still managed to average 4.5 yards per carry, imagine what he can do when the holes are there.

The gap scheme is a good fit

As Michael Nania detailed, switching to a gap scheme could unlock Hall’s potential even further. Like James Cook and Kyren Williams, Hall could benefit from hitting the line of scrimmage more quickly with less thinking — but his superior speed to both players means the results could be even more dynamic. One of Hall’s biggest issues in the NFL has been his tendency to dance behind the line, looking for a hole. With a more defined gap, he could hit the hole quickly and explode.

Here’s what a successful gap concept could look like for Hall in 2024. While a truck could run through that hole, a truck couldn’t necessarily outrun the safety for the touchdown. That’s where Hall’s top-end speed makes him a threat to take it to the house on every play.

Even if it’s not a house call, here’s another gap play where Hall took advantage behind Vera-Tucker, hitting the hole quickly and then bouncing outside to outrun defenders for a big gain.

He won’t be bogged down in short yardage

Hall wasn’t very good in short-yardage situations in 2023. He went just 7-for-13 (53.8%) in converting third and fourth-down situations with two or fewer yards to go, ranking 28th out of 31 qualified backs (min. 10 such attempts). His -3 first downs over expected indicate that it wasn’t just his blocking.

In 2024, though, Hall shouldn’t need to deal with that. The Jets brought in Braelon Allen and Isaiah Davis, both of whom had success in short yardage. Allen went 12-for-16 (75%) in 2023, while Davis went 11-for-14 (78.6%).

This should add to Hall’s overall efficiency.

Aaron Rodgers = lighter boxes

Statistically, Hall did not face particularly stacked boxes in 2023. Per NFL Next Gen Stats, he ran into a box with at least eight defenders 19.3% of the time, the 20th-highest out of 39 qualified backs — right in the middle. He faced a box with more defenders than blockers even less — 24.7% of the time, or the sixth-lowest among backs. That doesn’t necessarily back up the eye test; teams generally played single-high man coverage against the Jets, allowing their defenders to easily run downhill.

Still, Hall generally did not face particularly favorable run situations. He ran into a box with fewer than seven defenders just 34.5% of the time, the seventh-lowest rate among backs. While teams may not have stacked the box against him, they rarely emptied it, either. The Jets also didn’t have much opportunity to run into lighter boxes because they were constantly behind.

Aaron Rodgers’ return can change that. When defenses fear the quarterback beating them deep, they lighten the box. Rodgers likes to throw deep as much as any passer in the NFL. If teams stack the line of scrimmage, he will make them pay. He now has the weapons to do so with Mike Williams opposite Garrett Wilson. That bodes well for Hall.

Rodgers loves to throw to backs

For some inexplicable reason, Nathaniel Hackett said that he did not realize how good Hall is as a receiver until Week 8. After that, though, Hall became the Jets’ second-leading receiver. From Weeks 8-18, Hall caught 63 balls for 478 yards and 4 touchdowns, or 5.7 catches for 43.5 yards and 0.36 touchdowns per game. Overall, Hall led all NFL backs in catches (76) and receiving yards (591) and was second in yards per route run (1.76). He also brought his drop rate down from 20.8% in 2022 to 5%.

Hall may not catch quite as many balls in 2023 because the Jets should have better quarterbacking, superior pass protection (leading to fewer dump-offs to the back), and more mouths to feed with targets. Still, Aaron Rodgers loves to throw to running backs. From 2019-22, Aaron Jones averaged 52 catches for 405 yards and 4 receiving touchdowns per season. After watching Hall’s production as a receiver in 2023, Rodgers could dip into that well even more frequently than he did with Jones.

Oh, and Hall can do this.


I don’t think it’s unrealistic to expect Hall to exceed 5.0 yards per carry in 2024. Only five backs with at least 120 carries managed to gain at least 5.0 yards per carry in 2023: Christian McCaffrey, Jaylen Warren, Jahmyr Gibbs, James Conner, and Kyren Williams. When given any sort of reasonable run-blocking, Hall generally churns out enough big gains to keep his yards per carry average high.

The more important question will be his consistency. Hall has posted a low success rate in his first two years in the league, likely due to bad blocking. Can he improve that success rate with better blocking in a gap scheme? If the Jets’ offensive linemen can stay mostly healthy, 2024 will be a time to scrutinize Hall’s down-by-down success rather than his overall yards per carry average. Even his rush yards over expected can be misleading because his big plays often entail high RYOE totals.

As a receiver, Hall will likely see fewer targets than in 2023. Still, McCaffrey still had 79 targets, fourth-most among backs, even with the other weapons in the 49ers’ offense. With Rodgers’ propensity to throw to backs, expect Hall to land in the top 10 in receptions and likely the top 5 in receiving yards among backs.

It is unlikely for Hall to put up a 2,000-scrimmage-yard season. Even with his career marks of 4.8 yards per carry and 6.74 yards per target, he would need around 300 carries and 85 targets to get to 2,000 yards. Based on his usage after the Jets took the training wheels off in 2023, Hall would have been on pace for 248 carries and 107 targets in 2023. With his career averages, that would lead to 1,912 yards — which means it’s not so far out of the realm of possibility. McCaffrey posted 2,023 scrimmage yards in 2023 on 272 carries (5.4 YPC) and 79 targets (7.1 yards per target). Can Hall exceed that in 2024? If he gets closer to his rookie averages of 5.8 YPC and 7.27 YPT, he could certainly challenge the San Francisco back.

Of all the Jets players to be excited about in 2023, Breece Hall’s ceiling is perhaps the most tantalizing of them all.

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