Lost in the Aaron Rodgers excitement of the New York Jets' offseason is the return of Breece Hall, who arguably was the best offensive rookie in the league before he went down with an ACL injury that ended his season.
Hall will be the starting running back for the Jets when he returns, but will he be back by the season opener against the Buffalo Bills? General manager Joe Douglas won't set a timeline on his return, so his Week 1 status is still unclear at this time.
"Look, I think we're all hopeful that that could be a possibility," Douglas said to Pro Football Talk last week. "There's still a lot of meat on the bone in terms of his return-to-play protocols and his rehab.
"He's in a great place right now. I would say he's ahead of schedule from where he's supposed to be and he's hitting unbelievable top-end speeds already on our GPS and his rehab."
Hall was the early frontrunner for offensive rookie of the year when he was lost for the season with an ACL injury, ranking in the top 10 in rushing yards and touchdowns. In seven games, Hall had 80 carries for 463 yards and four rushing touchdowns -- averaging 5.8 yards per carry. Hall also had 19 catches for 218 yards (11.5 yards per catch) with a receiving touchdown.
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Hall was first in receiving yards and second in receiving yards amongst rookie running backs last season, despite only playing seven games. He'll be an integral part of a Jets offense that has Rodgers at quarterback, Garrett Wilson, Mecole Hardman, Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Corey Davis at wide receiver.
The Jets offense will go through Rodgers, but Hall can take the offense to another level. New York will be patient in getting Hall back to 100%.
"I know he's going to be chomping at the bit to get on the field early," Douglas said. "So we're gonna have to do a good job of protecting him against himself a little bit because he's so motivated, so hungry, and attacking rehab the way he is.
"We have very detailed checkpoints for Breece to hit in his rehab and we're gonna follow that to a 'T' because I think we all saw last year the weapon that he can be with the ball in his hands."