New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen (34) reacts against the Houston Texans in the AFC Divisional Round playoff game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Texans 41-28. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots used Shane Vereen as WR in practice

Shane Vereen is the ideal candidate to replace Danny Woodhead‘s role in the New England Patriots offense, and the uncertain situation surrounding the Patriots pass-catchers means that Vereen will be looking at an expanded role this coming season. Vereen is a definite breakout candidate heading into his third season in the league, and he showed last year that he has plenty of playmaking ability. Remember his touchdown scamper on a short pass against the New York Jets? How about the time he replaced Woodhead in the playoffs against the Houston Texans with five catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns (Vereen also had a rushing touchdown).

Patriots Football Weekly writer Paul Perillo informed us on the Patriots official site that the Pats utilized Shane Vereen as a wide receiver in spring practices. Vereen would end up getting covered by a linebacker, even though he was lining up as a traditional receiver on the outside. As Perillo notes, this was a similar situation for Vereen when he caught a 33-yard touchdown pass against the Texans in the playoffs.

Vereen’s playmaking ability as a pass-catcher and his versatility to line up around the formation make him an ideal candidate to help replace Aaron Hernandez in production and in schematic usage. I want to see Vereen lined up in the backfield in two-back sets, in the slot, and occasionally as a wide receiver on the outside. It would be nice to have him lined up in a two-back set at first, and then set him out in motion on the outside or in the slot. That could lead a linebacker to have to shift over and cover him, and there are a whole lot of possibilities for Josh McDaniels and the New England Patriots when considering Vereen’s explosiveness. It’s time for the Patriots to harness that, much in the same way they harnessed Aaron Hernandez’s playmaking and versatility at the tight end position.

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Tags: Aaron Hernandez New England Patriots NFL Offseason Shane Vereen

  • Hal Bent

    It should be interesting to see what wrinkles come out of Josh McDaniels’ offense this season as the offense moves past the Welker/Gronk/AHern/(Insert Poor Receiver Here) sets that just ran over and over…getting more touches for Vereen is an obvious one as I felt he was underutilized last year (even as good as Woodhead was)…excited to see Ridley, Vereen, Amendola, Ballard, and Jones, Dobson or Boyce out on the field together and see that speed and size in action and see what mismatches come out of it…

    • Joe Soriano

      The Pats probably could have used Vereen more, but it would have been tough to take touches away from Woodhead at the same time in the passing game.

  • unclealfie

    Shane is going to be an absolute stud for the Pats!

    • Joe Soriano

      I’m pumped to see what Vereen can do this year, and I’m about to go watch his touchdown catch against the Jets on loop. What a beauty that was.