Shane Vereen RB NE 6 Days4 Comments

Vereen had five receptions for 57 yards and two touchdowns and six carries for 18 yards in Friday's preseason game against the Panthers.

The Patriots went with a heavy dose of Vereen in the first half, as he even got the starting nod over Stevan Ridley. While Ridley and, to a lesser extent, James White figure to have roles in the offense, Vereen has the most secure role as a pass-catching specialist with the ability to contribute on the ground.

Shane Vereen RB NE 13 Days

Vereen was on the field for 7-of-91 of the Patriots' snaps on offense in Friday's preseason contest against the Eagles, ESPN.com reports.

While Vereen didn't record a carry in his limited workload Friday, he did notch two catches for 21 yards in the contest. With LeGarrette Blount no longer in the Patriots' backfield mix, Vereen is in line to work this season in tandem with Stevan Ridley and rookie James White. Vereen's projected role as pass-catcher out of the backfield puts him on track to be a productive PPR option, but it remains to be seen how big a share of the team's carries he'll see. While Ridley is probably the best suited among the team's RB options to handle early-down work, he's had issues with fumbles. If they persist, Vereen and/or White would presumably be in a position to receive added touches in the New England offense.

Shane Vereen RB NE 22 Days

Vereen gained seven yards on one carry in Thursday's preseason opener versus the Redskins.

Vereen only touched the ball once but actually got a decent amount of playing time. According to NESN's Doug Kyed, the Patriots made use of a formation on some third downs which featured both Vereen and rookie running back James White in the backfield. White may push for a role in the offense, and while Vereen thrived as part of a three-headed monster last season, it would be a bit more concerning this time around, with White -- a talented receiver -- replacing battering ram LeGarrette Blount. Of course, Vereen is an established part of the New England passing game, while White is a fourth-round rookie who still needs to prove that he deserves a role in the offense.

Shane Vereen RB NE 3 Months

ESPN Patriots' reporter Mike Reiss expects Vereen to handle a plurality of the New England's running back snaps this season.

It is telling that Vereen played almost as many offensive snaps as Ridley last season despite missing eight games due to injury. With LaGarrette Blount now in Pittsburgh, the opportunity exists for Vereen to play upwards of 50% of the Patriots offensive snaps. Assuming his troublesome wrist is healthy, that kind of playing time would make Vereen a high-upside RB2 even in standard formats.

Shane Vereen RB NE 4 Months

Shane Vereen says his 2013 wrist fracture still isn't fully healed.

"It's not going to feel great tomorrow, it's not going to feel awful," he said. "It won't be 100 percent probably for a while, but it's good enough and I'm working on strengthening it and getting it back." The injury cost Vereen eight games and may have contributed to his whopping nine dropped passes, which have flown under the radar. His target numbers dipped sharply down the stretch.

Shane Vereen RB NE 7 Months

Shane Vereen rushed four times for 34 yards and caught five balls for 59 yards in the Patriots' AFC Championship game loss.

The Pats started in a split-back set with Vereen and FB James Develin -- not LeGarrette Blount -- behind Tom Brady. Vereen converted New England's first explosive play on a 24-yard missile from Brady late in the first quarter. He ripped off a second-quarter gain of 13 on a quick toss into the flat, and 12 more on a fourth-down play in the final quarter. Although Vereen's per-game efficiency turned out well in his first season as a primary component of New England's offense, he missed eight games with a broken wrist and his involvement took a late-season hit as the Patriots played more run-minded offense. Vereen, 25 in May, will still return as a recommended RB2/flex pick in 2014 PPR leagues.

Shane Vereen RB NE 7 Months

Shane Vereen (groin) was a full participant in Thursday's practice.

It's an upgrade from Wednesday, when Vereen was listed as limited. After being held to just seven touches on 23 snaps in last week's Divisional Round win, Vereen should have a bigger role in the offense on Sunday in what figures to be a high-scoring AFC Championship Game.

Shane Vereen RB NE 8 Months

Shane Vereen (groin) was limited in Wednesday's practice.

It's not a concern for Vereen's status after he escaped last week's Divisional Round win without further injury. With the Pats far more likely to adopt a throwing mindset in Denver, Vereen should be in for more snaps and touches than he was against the Colts. Vereen was limited to seven touches and 23 snaps as the Pats used "big backs" LeGarrette Blount and Stevan Ridley to gash Indy on the ground. That formula likely won't fly in what figures to be a typical Peyton Manning/Tom Brady shootout.

Shane Vereen RB NE 8 Months1 Comment

Shane Vereen played on just 24-of-73 snaps (32.8 percent) in Saturday's win over the Colts.

LeGarrette Blount led Patriots running backs with 26 snaps, while Stevan Ridley filled out the committee with 23. Vereen's meager seven touches were disappointing, but that's what happens when the Patriots are nursing a lead and their big backs are gashing the defense for 5.73 yards per carry. Vereen should have a bigger role, especially as a receiver, in the AFC Championship Game. The potential absences of Kenbrell Thompkins (head) and Broncos slot CB Chris Harris (knee) would give him a boost.

Shane Vereen RB NE 8 Months

Shane Vereen rushed five times for 17 yards in New England's Divisional Round win over the Colts, adding two catches for 16 yards.

Vereen could have had a bigger night as a receiver, but committed his customary wheel-route drop, and failed to haul in another catchable pass. He secured only 2-of-6 targets. Regardless, the Pats will have to keep leaning on Vereen as a receiver for the AFC Championship Game, particularly if Kenbrell Thompkins can't go.