The opinions on NY Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and the Jets' offense as a whole have flipped dramatically in the last few weeks. Hackett went from a dunce who couldn't get anything out of Zach Wilson to an effective play-caller who turned things around.
While the Jets lost to the Kansas City Chiefs and needed some late defensive magic from their much-hyped unit to take down the lowly Denver Broncos, even a basic examination of this offense reveals an actual identity, more creativity, and better play-calling from the disgraced former head coach.
Jets wide receiver Allen Lazard, who is familiar with Hackett dating back to his time with the Green Bay Packers, has put a large chunk of the credit for this recent uptick in production. If there were any doubts about how the Jets feel about Hackett, the last few weeks crystallized how positive the vibes are.
"I give a lot of credit to Hackett as well," Lazard, who has 13 catches for 202 yards and a touchdown through five games, said. "The play calls, and the design of the plays, are just putting Zach in the best position to be successful."
Allen Lazard says Nathaniel Hackett is helping Zach Wilson, NY Jets offense
Wilson, who has completed 56% of his passes in his career, has topped 70% in each of the last two weeks. If he maintained his statistical pace over the last two contests for an entire 17-game season, the former No. 2 pick would finish with 3,774 yards, 17 touchdown passes, and a passer rating of 94.6 (Wilson's career rating is 71.4).
In tandem with improved offensive line play, the Jets have made a commitment to get the ball out of Wilson's hands quickly and allow their playmakers to go to work. It's more simplistic than what Aaron Rodgers would be doing, but the results have been quite encouraging.
The biggest change, however, has been in the running game. Breece Hall was fully unleashed against a terrible Broncos defensive line, and he responded with a career-high 177 yards. Hackett made his name as a running backs coach, and getting Hall back on track is extremely important.
The Jets finally have an offensive identity. They'll run the ball down your throat with Hall, get the ball out of Wilson's hands quickly, and ask their quarterback to make one or two big throws every game. Time will tell if it is sustainable, but Hackett is cooking right now.