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NFL New England Patriots

Shane Vereen Return Would Really Boost New England Patriots

Shane Vereen

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Most of the injury news for New England Patriots players has been pretty bad lately. There is one bright spot, however, as running back Shane Vereen took off his hard cast today. That means Vereen should be able to return when he’s first eligible.

The timeline will be a bit slow though. Vereen is only eligible to start practicing next week. He could practice for a couple of weeks before being able to return in Week 11. As most people know, head coach Bill Belichick always prefers to have his players practice even if they’re not going to return in the given week (like tight end Rob Gronkowski).

Either way, the return of Vereen would be pivotal for the Patriots. He had a great season opener against the Buffalo Bills with 14 carries for 101 yards to go along with seven receptions for 58 yards. It appeared at that point that Vereen was going to be the featured running back in the offense. Some people even went so far as to say that Vereen was the best running back on the roster.

While that last point remains to be seen, Vereen has certainly been on fire lately. Everybody remembers him in the 2013 AFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Houston Texans. Add that to the game he played against Buffalo, and Patriots fans get a running back who has absolutely exploded in two out of the last three games that he has played in. He was absolutely coming on before he went down.

At the very least, Vereen can provide offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels with a legitimate receiving threat out of the backfield. And at the very most, he can assume the role of featured running back. Either way, it’s a win-win situation for McDaniels.

Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.