Breece Hall’s next challenge comes against stout Packers defense – The Denver Post


When the Jets selected Breece Hall with the No. 36 pick overall in last April’s draft, they knew he was one of the best players in the draft.

But they probably didn’t think he would already be playing like one of the best running backs in the NFL.

That’s what Hall has done the last couple of weeks. Hall had to wait until Friday, the second day of the 2022 NFL Draft, to hear his name called and that has definitely continued to keep a chip on his shoulder.

“I definitely took some receipts,” Hall said. “It sucks, but I’m here for a reason. It was a blessing for me to be here with this great draft class and everything like that.

“But I definitely do want to prove every week why I should’ve been a first-round pick and why I was worthy of that. That internal motivation for sure.”

Through five games this season, Hall has been sharing a backfield with second-year running back Michael Carter. The results have certainly paid off, especially in recent weeks.

Against the Steelers in Week 4, Hall rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Because of his play, Hall was named the NFL Rookie of the Week.

He followed up that performance by registering 197 all-purpose yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins. His highlight play of the game came in the first quarter when he caught a 79-yard pass from quarterback Zach Wilson that brought the ball down to the one-yard line as fans at MetLife Stadium were chanting “Breece.” Carter then punched the ball in for a touchdown.

“He was awesome,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said. “He’s an explosive player. When we drafted him, it was because we needed a home run hitter on this team, and he did that.”

Through five games, Hall, or as his teammates call him, “Breece the Beast” leads the Jets in rushing with 275 yards and two rushing touchdowns. He also has 17 receptions for 213 yards and a TD through the air.

Hall’s early success in the NFL isn’t a big surprise after his time at Iowa State, where he recorded 3,941 yards and 50 touchdowns. He also had 82 receptions for 734 yards and six touchdowns.

It was at Iowa State that Hall drew comparisons to former Steelers and Jets running back Le’Veon Bell and former Texans running back Arian Foster.

“I got asked about him, about how his speed and size just kind of sneaks up on you,” Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said. “I think, again, whether I’m explaining that well enough, it’s just kind of what I see when he’s out there, you just think you have an angle on him and then he goes and then he’s got just this massive body, with that speed.

“I think the thing that goes maybe unnoticed, just because it’s only five games in and he hasn’t had a ton of time with you guys or what-not, he just hasn’t been in this league, is just how smart he is as a football player, he just gets it, he sees it.

“You could see that at Iowa State, you could see that in the draft process, Joe [Douglas] and those guys did just an absolutely awesome job recognizing that and then all the talks they had with him. Not comparing him to Matt Forte in terms of what he’s about to become or what he can become, but just in terms of the body size and how he’s being used, I see a similar skill set.”

To continue his string of excellent play this weekend, Hall will need to succeed against one of the more formidable defenses in the league.

Gang Green will face a Packers defense that’s ranked fifth as they allow 303.4 yards per game. However, the Packers are allowing 126.4 rushing yards per game, 20th in the NFL.

Hall’s play this season certainly has some talking about him as a candidate for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. While Wilson is still working his way back from knee injuries that sidelined him for seven weeks, the team has relied on the rushing attack and will likely continue to do so as the season progresses.

“I’m real big on being comfortable,” Hall said about his play so far this season. “That’s when I play my best, so as I’ve said previously, I just feel like I’ve been getting better every week.

“I feel like it is going to continue because of the coaches staying on me as they feel like I have a lot to improve on. So it is going to keep getting better.

“I feel like I can get more open on some of my routes out of the backfield and play action pass and stuff like that.”



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