Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Vereen gets ample workload in return to lineup


New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen made his return to the field Monday night for the first time since Week 1, and for much of the time, he stayed on it.

Vereen led the Patriots' backfield in snaps, seeing the field for 34 plays -- 15 more than both LeGarrette Blount and Stevan Ridley -- according to ESPN Boson's Mike Reiss.

The third-year tailback broke his wrist near the end of his exceptional showing against the Buffalo Bills and was placed on short-term injured reserve. Vereen, however, began practicing with the team two weeks ago and was eligible for the active roster last week.

As expected, prior to New England's loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Patriots coaches gave little insight into how much Vereen would play. As it turns out, he was a big part of their game plan.

While Vereen attempted just one rush for seven yards, he was targeted 11 times through the air and hauled in eight catches for 65 yards. He also didn't leave the field on the Patriots' final drive.

Vereen will be in line for more plays moving forward thanks to his ability to bolster New England's pass game and the fact that Ridley lost yet another fumble, likely earning himself fewer carries.

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