NY Jets head coach Robert Saleh is generally very protective of his players. He's been open about his desire to keep things in-house and not criticize his players publicly. His tone seems to have changed a little, however, at least as far as Breece Hall is concerned.
Saleh spoke about Hall and the Jets' offense on Saturday, and the third-year head coach did something he rarely does — he openly criticized Hall when talking to reporters.
Saleh referred to Hall as a "special talent" but insisted that "there's the grimy yards that a back has to understand he needs to get." He made it clear that he wants Hall to get more of the tough yards rather than always trying to hit a home run, per The Athletic's Zack Rosenblatt.
Saleh's open criticism of Hall is certainly surprising, given his track record with other individuals. He notably shielded Zach Wilson from criticism for months and has infamously done the same with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
But for whatever reason, Hall was the target of his criticism on Saturday.
Breece Hall doesn't seem bothered by Robert Saleh's criticism
To Hall's credit, he doesn't seem especially bothered by Saleh's words. The second-year running back took to social media later in the day to seemingly respond to what Saleh said.
Hall appeared to clarify that he was not upset or offended by Saleh's "constructive criticism." If anything, he supports it.
One could argue that Saleh's criticism is fair, although it's hard to blame Hall for any of the Jets' offensive struggles. If anything, his explosiveness and home-run hitting abilities are the only reasons the Jets have been able to score on offense this season.
Four of the Jets' five longest plays this season have come courtesy of Hall turning short plays into monster gains. He has four plays that have amounted to over 40 yards this season. That doesn't happen without his home-run ability.
It's also difficult to grind out tough yards behind the worst run-blocking offensive line in football. Not to mention, everyone on this Jets offense is pressing right now. They're all trying to do too much — just look at Garrett Wilson.
It is surprising to see Saleh specifically call out Hall for his faults, given how many other issues persist with this Jets offense. It's also surprising because of how rarely Saleh actually does it.
Saleh tends to let his actions speak for themselves, but that wasn't the case with Hall this time. Thankfully, Hall seems to have taken Saleh's words as motivation. No harm, no foul, I suppose.