Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Patriots looking forward to Vereen's return


Shane Vereen was the New England Patriots' most productive offensive skill player in the team's season-opener. That turned out to be the only game he would appear in before the bye week.

After amassing 159 yards on 21 touches, the third-year tailback broke his wrist during the Patriots' victory over the Buffalo Bills.

Vereen has been on the temporary injured reserve list since but is eligible to return to the active roster as soon as Monday night when the Patriots face the Carolina Panthers.

"As soon as he is ready and able to help us and we are able to play him, certainly he will have a role in the game," Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said Monday, via the team's website. "He definitely did make a big impact in game one. I don't know if we can expect him to do that right off the bat in his first game back, whenever that is."

According to CSNNE, Vereen returned to practice Sept. 30 for the first time since the injury.

The Patriots' offensive backfield has remained a timeshare in Vereen's absence, with Stevan Ridley taking a majority of the workload but LeGarrette Blount getting his fair share, too. Ridley has amassed 514 yards and six touchdowns on 118 rushing attempts, while Blount has pitched in with 312 yards and two touchdowns on 70 carries.

Brandon Bolden has made his small amount of touches worthwhile, as well, gaining 205 yards and two touchdowns on just 38 carries.

While New England has made due without Vereen, Vereen provides an element in the passing game beyond what any of the other three backs can. Vereen obviously works primarily out of the backfield but is also used in the slot at receiver.

"We'll look forward to having him back," McDaniels said. "He is a really good kid, a great teammate and a good football player that can help us. So, we're looking forward to that."

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