Coming into the 2013 season, the New England Patriots expected big things from third year running back Shane Vereen. He was going to be Tom Brady’s safety valve since Rob Gronkowski was missing from the lineup, but Vereen got injured. No one had thought the injury would be of the severe kind, but the Patriots placed him on the injured reserve-designated to return list. That move has sidelined Vereen for the majority of the season, but what type of impact will he make when he returns?
Vereen is your typical do-it-all kind of player. He can pound the ball up the middle or bounce it outside as a running back. He can line up at all three wide receiver positions too. Vereen can run deep routes, crossing patterns and quick screens as a slot receiver. If Vereen gets the ball in space, watch out.
However, with the recent groove the Patriots got in last Sunday, could Vereen throw the offense out of rhythm? No, that is a crazy question no one should ever consider. The more weapons Brady has the better off New England will be. Not to take credit away from Steven Ridley and the rest of New England’s stable of running backs, but Vereen is different kind of player. The Patriots can try to line up Brandon Bolden outside, but he is not fooling anyone.
When Vereen returns in the coming weeks the Patriots will finally have their full arsenal to work with. Brady will look his way early and often when he’s back in the lineup. He is the difference between New England having a great offense and an unstoppable one.