Before tearing his ACL in Week 7 of his rookie season, running back Breece Hall was putting together an effective campaign that genuinely excited NY Jets fans.
The Iowa State product collected 463 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns, and one receiving touchdown across seven contests.
While there are always reasons to be skeptical when a player returns from a serious injury, there are three huge reasons to believe that the 22-year-old could be in for a big year.
The Aaron Rodgers effect
For what it’s worth, Breece Hall did not play with a particularly serviceable quarterback last season. Zach Wilson posted the NFL’s worst QBR in 2022 and missed the early part of the campaign due to injury. As a result, Hall never truly built any kind of chemistry with his signal caller.
With grizzled veteran Aaron Rodgers set to lead the offense in his first season as the Jets’ quarterback, Hall will have a reliable QB. This matters both in terms of rushing yards and general receptions.
Given how dynamic Rodgers is, New York may look to have him roll out and search for a huge completion downfield. As known, plays such as this have a tendency to fall apart if defended correctly.
In these situations, Rodgers could toss a short completion to Hall, who could potentially turn “water into wine” and find running room. Last season, Hall had a drop rate of 20.8% — having an elite quarterback like Rodgers could help him develop into a true dual-purpose back.
A torn ACL is a devastating injury for any player on the gridiron. For a running back, the injury is especially challenging because it severely limits one’s ability to run or make effective cuts. The Omaha native has had an extended period of time to rest and correctly rehab.
In other words, he was not “rushed” back. It’s fair to assume that he’ll be raring to go out of the gate after his extended absence, and New York could benefit as a result.
NY Jets running back depth
One could argue that the days of the “workhorse” running back are over. Teams like Kansas City, Baltimore, and New England have been able to use multiple backs in their offensive schemes. Organizations no longer need a singular, MVP-caliber running back to collect more than 20 rushing attempts every week.
The Jets have a talented backfield thanks to names such as Michel Carter, Israel Abanikanda, and Zonovan Knight. Gang Green drafted Abanikanda in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft after he totaled 1,431 rushing yards at Pittsburgh in 2022.
Further, Knight and Carter have both shown flashes of explosiveness that could be helpful. All of this is to say that Hall will not be the “only” influential back this season.
As a result, he’ll have opportunities to rest and take a lighter workload, which could aid his productivity when the team turns to him for more high-volume efforts.