NY Jets fans know just how good Breece Hall is. Anyone who watched Hall at Iowa State and with the Jets as a rookie bore witness to one of the most talented running backs in the country. His talent wasn't exactly a well-kept secret. Well, unless you're Nathaniel Hackett, that is.
The Jets' offensive coordinator spoke to reporters for the final time this season on Thursday, and he offered up a quote that is certain to raise some eyebrows.
When asked about Hall's production, particularly in the passing game, this season, Hackett admitted that he was surprised by his star running back's talent. He straight-up said he "wasn't ready" for Hall to be this good.
Yes, the Jets' own offensive coordinator didn't fully understand how good, arguably his best player was until late in the season. Everyone else knew it except Hackett, apparently.
"I don’t think I was ready for [Breece Hall] to be as productive as he was in the pass game. That’s something that has added a whole dimension to things that we can do."- Nathaniel Hackett
Breece Hall's production was a surprise to NY Jets OC Nathaniel Hackett
Hall has become the focal point of the Jets' offense in recent weeks, racking up a whopping 317 scrimmage yards over the last two games combined. Despite his lackluster mid-season stretch, Hall still ranks 10th amongst all NFL players in total scrimmage yards this season.
The Jets have found ways to get Hall involved in the passing game over the last few weeks, but as Hackett alluded to in his quote, that clearly wasn't a priority for the team early in the season.
Hall recorded just eight catches over the first five weeks of the year. For reference, he had nine catches just last week and 12 catches the week before.
Of course, Hall has been a productive and effective pass-catcher throughout his football career. The former second-round pick finished with 36 catches in 12 games during his final season at Iowa State. He commanded 31 targets in just seven games as a rookie despite playing a limited role for about half of those games.
You can very easily make the argument that Hall is the second-best overall receiver on this Jets roster at the moment. Hackett just didn't see it, however.
In fact, the coaching staff's lack of trust in Hall is partially why Dalvin Cook was signed in the first place. The Jets didn't see Hall as a bell-cow back who can lead an NFL offense, especially coming off a torn ACL. They fully expected him to split touches with Cook throughout the season, even after he got back to 100 percent.
That comes back to talent evaluation. If this Jets staff can't even properly evaluate their own players, how are they supposed to be trusted with evaluating external players (see: Dalvin Cook)?