The New England Patriots decided to place Shane Vereen on the injured reserve with a designation to return, thus showing that Vereen’s wrist injury is worse than initially feared. He won’t be able to return until Week 11, and the Patriots have filled Vereen’s spot on the roster with tight end Matthew Mulligan, who has once again done the Foxboro Shuffle. Mulligan was signed after cut week and took James Develin’s spot on the roster, and it looked like the Patriots wanted depth at tight end more than a fullback, thus making it look like Michael Hoomanawanui would just play H-Back all year. But then the Patriots decided to bring back Develin a couple of days later, so it was back to square one for Mulligan.
It’s not a surprise to see Mulligan back, though, because he had to have been at the very top of the emergency list at tight end, and the Patriots might have an emergency at TE on their hands. Rob Gronkowski is still, most likely, another week away from returning, and then Zach Sudfeld could miss Thursday’s game with a pulled hamstring.
Michael Hoomanawanui likely just had a bad game, but he definitely did not look good as a blocker on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. It was an uncharacteristic performance from Hooman, who usually does a great job as a run blocker. I’m sure he’ll bounce back, but it makes sense for the Patriots to bring in an in-line TE they are comfortable with in lieu of the injuries at the position.