The Spotlight Series
A Footballguys Spotlight is an in-depth look at a player. His plusses and minuses are examined, and we give you our bottom-line stance on his 2022 prospects. If a player listed below doesn't yet have a link, don't worry. It's coming soon.
Throughout his football life, Robert Saleh has seen the benefits of a dominant run game up close. His first stint as an NFL coach brought him a front-row seat for Arian Foster's league-leading 1,616 yards with the Texans in 2010. He followed that up with a championship-winning tour with the Seahawks and Marshawn Lynch. And in his last stop before landing as the Jets head coach, he saw the 49ers ride a four-touchdown playoff game from Raheem Mostert into the Super Bowl.
Saleh has also seen the downside of failing to establish a ground presence. First, he witnessed a combined 11-37 stint in Jacksonville with a backfield led by T.J. Yeldon, Denard Robinson, and Chris Ivory. After a 4-13 debut season as head coach with a backfield led by Michael Carter II and Tevin Coleman, the Jets needed a change.
Enter Breece Hall.
Hall brings an old-school mentality to the position following in the footsteps of his cousin Roger Craig. Craig was on the cutting edge of ushering in a dual-threat approach from the position as the first NFL running back to top 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in 1985. The only other players to match that feat are well known to fantasy footballers: Marshall Faulk and Christian McCaffrey. Craig earned recognition for his legendary tape study and work ethic, a trait in Hall's blood as Iowa St. coach Matt Campbell pointed out: "There's a real sense of professionalism and consistency that he brings to how he attacks the sport."
In terms of athleticism, Hall aced athletic testing as his 4.39 40-time in a 217-pound frame contributed to his finish with a 9.96 out of 10 in Kent Lee Platte's Relative Athletic Score. The Jets emphasized his home run ability was a central driving point in his selection, a point GM Joe Douglas mentioned: "He can score from anywhere on the field. Excellent elusiveness, excellent balance through contact, and another guy who can be a weapon in the passing game."
Iowa State Stats
A Lack Of Run Game Doomed The Offense
The Jets' 380 rushing attempts ranked dead last in the NFL in 2021. A lack of attempts will bleed through every rushing category as the Jets finished towards the bottom of the league in rushing yards, touchdowns, 20+ yard runs, and first downs. Not ideal when breaking in a rookie quarterback in Zach Wilson.
The team responded by adding guard Laken Tomlinson in free agency. Tomlinson is a mauler in the run game, and he solidifies the weakest point on the Jets line. With continued development from the 2021 first-round pick, Alijah Vera-Tucker should harden the line's interior. The team also added tight ends C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin in free agency and Jeremy Ruckert in the third round. Last season the team ran sets with at least three wide receivers on 69% of snaps; the personnel additions should allow them to transition to heavier packages, helping the run game.
The Michael Carter II Conundrum
Any conversation on Hall has to include Michael Carter II. The Jets used an early 4th-round pick on Carter in 2021, and he returned a strong rookie season with 964 total yards. Concern about a committee backfield is frequently cited, especially noting Carter could take the passing game role.
Temper this concern.
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