New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen is poised for a breakout season in his third year, as he steps into the lucrative role in the Patriots offense left by Danny Woodhead, whose accomplishments were rewarded by a nice paycheck from the San Diego Chargers in free agency. Vereen is one of the most explosive running backs in the NFL, and he showed it with a ridiculous 83-yard touchdown scamper off a screen against the New York Jets on Thanksgiving Day. When Woodhead went down in the AFC Divisional Round against the Houston Texans, Vereen stepped up big time. Now, it’s time for him to step up for an entire season, and my money is definitely on Vereen to fulfill that role.
Vereen was on SiriuXM NFL radio’s “Movin’ the Chains” show yesterday, and he spoke about the Patriots offense, replacing Danny Woodhead (as always), and backup quarterbacks Ryan Mallett and Tim Tebow.
On Mallett he said, via ESPN Boston, “Ryan’s doing well. He’s grasping the offense very well. He’s got arm strength like I’ve never seen. Ever. He uses that really well. He’s got tremendous leadership ability. He just needs his opportunity, I think.”
The Mallett quote is my favorite one in this interview, because it gives us a little bit of insight into the RB’s thought on Mallett. “Arm strength like I’ve never seen. Ever.” That quote definitely jumps out at you, and Vereen sounds high on Mallett’s ability to lead any NFL team with his arm strength and leadership skills. For Mallett, this opportunity is in the preseason, because, if he plays well enough, a team should offer the second-round draft pick that the Patriots covet next offseason and find himself as a starting quarterback. He has the ability to be a starter, but he needs to put it all together and prove it.
On Tim Tebow, “His talent speaks for itself. I’ve only had two practices with him, so I [don’t really] know him. But I’ve only heard good things about him as a player and a person off the field. I’m excited to see what he does.”
This is the mentality we should all have regarding Tebow, and this was just a great interview from Vereen. He seems upbeat and driven, and those are two states of mind mentally that will help both Vereen and the Patriots.