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Hall, de los Jets, dice que McCaffrey, de los 49ers, es "el estándar" para los running backs


The New York Jets running back is entering his third season as one of the league's top players at his position. But his ultimate goal is to be as consistently productive and dominant as McCaffrey, the San Francisco 49ers' do-at-all backfield star

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh, left, talks to team owner Woody Johnson.
New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh, left, talks to team owner Woody Johnson.AP

"I feel like right now, McCaffrey's the best in the league," Hall said after the Jets' first minicamp practice on Tuesday. "And to me, he sets the standard."

The 23-year-old Hall bounced back from a torn ACL in his left knee in Week 7 of what was shaping up to be a special rookie season and rushed for 994 yards and five touchdowns last year. He also led NFL running backs with 76 catches for 591 yards and four scores.

"He's still a top-10 player in this league," Hall said of McCaffrey. "I feel like with my talent and the team we have, I have potential to trend toward that way. So I'm just excited to get rolling."

Hall has been limited this offseason by what coach Robert Saleh has called "some lower half stuff," and the team is having the running back work with trainers during practice sessions.

"I could practice right now," Hall said. "I feel great, but the coaches are real cautious with me. And I appreciate them for that."

That's because the Jets need Hall to be healthy in September, when the regular season starts. He's the engine that drives the offense behind quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Garrett Wilson, and he's only beginning to scratch the surface of the impact he can make on a weekly basis.

In the Jets' final three games last season, Hall ran for 357 yards and three touchdowns on 70 carries — including setting career highs with 178 yards and 37 attempts in the finale at New England. He also had 23 of his receptions during that stretch for 150 yards and a TD.

It all made for a very McCaffrey-like run of performances.

"I ended the season on a good note," Hall acknowledged, adding he didn't feel 100% healthy all the time. "But now I have 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.

"And I just feel like I'm back to my old self."

Hall, a second-round pick in 2022 out of Iowa State where his roommate was current 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, has talked about wanting to make the Pro Bowl and be selected an All-Pro. With Rodgers back and healthy and the additions of players such as wide receivers Mike Williams and Malachi Corley and offensive linemen Tyron Smith, Morgan Moses and John Simpson, Hall is optimistic about the offense — and his chances of meeting his personal goals.

"So now it's on me," Hall said.

McCaffrey won the AP Offensive Player of the Year last season when he helped San Francisco reach the Super Bowl. The newly selected cover boy of EA Sports Madden NFL 25 led the NFL with 2,023 yards from scrimmage and tied for the league lead with 21 touchdowns.

Last week, McCaffrey signed a two-year extension worth $38 million to remain under contract with the 49ers through the 2027 season. It was a rare example of an NFL running back cashing in on a big second deal at a position pushing to get better contracts.

"Yeah, it's cool," said Hall, who could start looking for an extension next offseason. "Like I said, he sets the standard, so it was just cool to see him raise the market and continue to get paid."

For years, Hall studied McCaffrey's moves online, trying to glean anything he could to add to his own game.

"If you go on my YouTube and you look at Christian McCaffrey and my history and everything," Hall said with a big smile, "I watched like the first 10 videos of his highlights and everything."

Hall, whose cousin is Roger Craig — the versatile running back who helped lead the 49ers to three Super Bowl victories — will finally get a first-hand look at McCaffrey in action in the season opener on Sept. 9, a "Monday Night Football" showdown in San Francisco.

"The defense they have over there is going to be a great challenge for me just to see where I stand and see where our offense is," Hall said. "And I think it's going to be fun."