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Jets' Breece Hall says Christian McCaffrey 'sets the standard' for RBs, wants to see 'where I stand' compared to him

Despite returning to play after a torn ACL that cut short a promising rookie year, New York Jets running back Breece Hall came back strong in his sophomore season, ranking fourth in all-purpose yards with 1,584 and collecting nine total touchdowns in 2023.

Hall especially found a groove near the end of the season, recording 191, 126 and 190 all-purpose yards in the Jets' final three contests. Hall said last week that as he feels stronger than ever 20 months removed from his injury, that output over the final games could be an indicator of his true potential for the 2024 campaign.

"I ended the season on a good note," Hall said. "Just last season still not feeling like 100 percent all the time, but now I had my first offseason to not just be trying to get back, but to get better. And I've gotten better this offseason. I'm a lot leaner. I feel a lot healthier. My knee feels a lot better. I just feel like I'm back to my old self."

That old self burst onto the NFL scene as a rookie, collecting 463 yards and four TDs in just seven games (two starts), before his untimely knee injury took him off the field.

Now that he's back at full strength and has a couple years under his belt and an offense around him that only looks stronger with the return of Aaron Rodgers and some other key additions, one can only wonder what Hall's ceiling could be.

"Really it's just all on me," Hall said. "We have the team now, we upgraded in every room, so I'm just happy that we have the guys that we have now, happy for everything I've had in the past, so now it's on me."

Hall's work toward showing he can reach that elite level of play will start with a Week 1 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, where he will test his mettle against who he believes is the benchmark for success for a running back, Christian McCaffrey.

"I feel like right now McCaffrey's the best in the league. To me, he sets the standard," Hall said. "We're going to see him in Week 1 and we're playing against some of the best linebackers. For me, it's exciting just to see where I stand and really let everyone see my full talent now that I'm healthy."

McCaffrey has been the man of the moment, earning a new two-year, $38 million extension this month that only increases his lead as the highest-paid RB in the league, and shortly after was named the Madden NFL 25 cover athlete. All that came in the wake of his first full season with the 49ers, in which he had a career-best and league-leading 1,459 rushing yards and led the NFL in all-purpose yards and touchdowns en route to the Offensive Player of the Year award.

"It was cool, like I said he sets the standard, so it was cool to see him raise the mark and then continue to get paid," Hall said. "He's a top-10 player in this league, and I feel like with my talent and the team we have, I have potential to trend towards that way. So I'm just excited to get rolling."

Proving he belongs among the upper echelon of running backs will take a full season of work, but that endeavor will start by directly pitting Hall against the man he knows he must match to do so.

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