New York Jets sophomore running back Breece Hall was outstanding in Monday’s overtime victory over the Buffalo Bills. It marked Hall’s official return from a season-ending knee injury suffered in Week 7 of last season. The Jets should feel comfortable increasing Hall’s workload following his performance against Buffalo.
Hall rushed for 127 yards via 10 carries and added one reception for 20 receiving yards to his offensive totals. Hall averaged an astounding 12.7 yards per carry, largely thanks to an 83-yard rush in which he reached 20.54 MPH, per Next Gen Stats. Make no mistake though, Hall’s totals weren’t simply padded by one explosive gain. The former Iowa State standout maximized every opportunity, amassing three 20-plus-yard gains.
THERE GOES BREECE HALL! 83 YARDS!
— NFL (@NFL) September 12, 2023
Hall was activated off the PUP list in time for the regular-season opener and the Jets’ coaching staff maintained their belief in his instant availability. Hall proved that he hasn’t missed a beat and should earn a larger role as the weeks progress.
The Jets were prepared to ease Hall back into their backfield. Jets general manager Joe Douglas signed free-agent running back Dalvin Cook to a one-year contract worth up to $8.6 million. The Jets may continue splitting the workload between Cook and Hall, but Hall was the more effective back versus Buffalo.
Cook rushed for 33 yards on 13 carries for a lackluster average of 2.5 yards per carry, but added 26 yards via three receptions. Hall averaged a chain-moving 13.3 yards per touch compared to Cook’s 3.68 yards per opportunity. Despite the difference in productivity, Cook out-snapped Hall 27-17 as the Jets took a safe approach throughout Hall’s return.
Cook will continue being heavily involved in the Jets’ offense. Cook has qualified for four consecutive Pro Bowls while establishing himself as a proven, veteran option. The Jets simply shouldn’t force-feed Cook touches based on Hall’s health and/or availability concerns.
The No. 36 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, Hall appeared to regain his full explosiveness. Recent history indicates most ball-carriers require 12-plus months to return to 100% form following a season-ending knee injury, hence the Jets’ decision to add Cook as insurance. Much to the Jets’ satisfaction though, Hall is all-systems-go.
Monday’s unfortunate developments indicate there’s going to be plenty of touches to go around for both Hall and Cook. Starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers is feared to have suffered a season-ending Achilles injury just four snaps into his Jets debut, according to various reports. Rodgers was replaced in the starting lineup by Zach Wilson, who now projects as the Jets’ starting signal-caller moving forward.
The Rodgers injury will bring sweeping changes to the Jets’ offense. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett will almost certainly switch gears to a run-first approach in Rodgers’ absence. Cook and Hall will be required to do the heavy lifting throughout the remaining course of the 2023 season.
Rodgers’ injury hung a dark cloud over the Jets’ atmospheric overtime victory over their AFC East rival Bills, but Hall’s return-to-form showcase offered a banner of optimism. Hall showed no lingering effects of last season’s knee injury. Expect Hall’s workload to increase.
- Sep 29, 2023
- Sep 29, 2023