New England Patriots Shane Vereen not practicing

New England Patriots running backs Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead have both been held out of practice, as Vereen is nursing a foot injury while Woodhead is out with an undisclosed injury (tweet from Shalise Manza Young).

Woodhead and Vereen are similar backs, as both are explosive, change-of-pace RBs who provide a lot of value as pass-catchers. Woodhead, however, is more experienced and offers much more as a pass protector. However, Vereen is viewed as the better pure rusher.

Tight end Aaron Hernandez left the field but without the training staff, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer returned to practice (great news), Visanthe Shiancoe was out of practice (no surprise, discouraging), and Nick McDonald was not dressed up.

Starting safeties Patrick Chung and Steve Gregory are also players to keep a close eye on, as Chung is wearing the famed, red no-contact jersey and Gregory is out of practice entirely.

Watch the updates closely on both running backs as the week moves forward, and the foot injury to Vereen has to be of concern for Patriots fans. I mean, it isn’t a major concern but it is a concern. Both backs could be listed as questionable in next week’s opener against the Tennessee Titans, but I’d like to think that both of them will play.

As for Gregory, he was injured in the third preseason game and his injury will test the Patriots rookie safeties early on. If both Chung and Gregory end up missing next week’s game (unlikely, though), then rookies Nate Ebner and Tavon Wilson will start. Keep a close eye on the RB and safety situations, and it will also be interesting to see what is up with Hernandez. He did not return for the brief media period.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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Tags: Aaron Hernandez Danny Woodhead New England Patriots Nick McDonald Patrick Chung Sebastian Vollmer Shane Vereen Steve Gregory Visanthe Shiancoe

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