According to the Boston Herald, Patriots running back Shane Vereen has been playing the same type of role that Kevin Faulk and Danny Woodhead did when they were in New England.
During camp, we’ve seen Brady utilize Vereen as he would have Kevin Faulk or Woodhead in the past. If he doesn’t see anyone open, he’ll hit Vereen with an outlet pass. Or, he’ll simply swing it to Vereen and let him take off and do his thing.
Vereen, who barely played as a rookie, now appears to be one of Brady’s safety valves during passing situations along with Amendola. But there’s more. Vereen’s versatility allows him to not only line up in the backfield, but also in different wide receiver spots.
The Patriots have been ling up Vereen all over the place and have him filling the same type of role that Aaron Hernande did.
To this point, all of the running backs have gotten reps either split out wide or in the slot. Stevan Ridley has been primarily outside, while Vereen has been either outside or in the slot. Or, he’s started out wide, then gone into motion, and settled behind Brady. Hernandez did that on occasion.
Without many of his top receivers from last year, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels might have to think outside the box. So Vereen could very well be one of the guys he employs to help make up for losing Hernandez. None of the tight ends really have Hernandez’ skill set. Vereen, while not Hernandez, or a tight end, does possess some of the qualities that made Hernandez so effective.
While Ridley is the Patriots’ lead back, Vereen can fill multiple roles like Woodhead and Hernandez did.