Is Shane Vereen on the Roster Bubble?

Did Shane Vereen get passed on the depth chart by Brandon Bolden? (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed

I made a comment in my latest Patriots roster projection that a lot of Patriots fans took umbrage with. That statement was that Shane Vereen COULD be on the roster bubble.

Now I’m here to explain myself and to continue that conversation.

The facts are that Shane Vereen was the fourth RB to take snaps last Thursday against the Saints. He’s also been running with the third team at practice. Therefore, in my mind, all signs point to him being passed by Brandon Bolden on the depth chart.

There’s a lot of excuses being made for Vereen by Patriots fans. That Belichick was trying different things, that Vereen has a different role as a third down/change of pace back, that Belichick wanted to give opportunities to players with less experience.

Excuse my French, but I think that’s a load of hooey. When Vereen did play on Thursday and when I’ve seen him getting snaps in practice, it’s with the same role as Bolden or Ridley as an every down back. Vereen was getting the lion’s share of carries against the Saints, he was not being used strictly in the receiving game or as a change of pace.

Vereen also needs reps and experience as much as anyone on this team. He barely played last preseason after getting injured and he only got carries in two games last season. This isn’t a scenario where a rookie is getting snaps over a proven veteran that you don’t want to risk getting hurt. Vereen had an extra year with the playbook, but Bolden and Vereen are almost on the same playing field as far as in game snaps.

The fact that Belichick saw something in the first two weeks of training camp that suggested Bolden should be getting more snaps and playing time ahead of Vereen is concerning. I’m not sure if it speaks more to how impressive Bolden has been or to the flaws that Belichick obviously sees in Vereen, but it’s there.

Now, do I think Vereen will get cut? No, I don’t. I also hope he doesn’t get cut or traded. I think he’s a very talented, explosive back that could contribute in a number of ways to this team both on the ground and through the air. But, he’s currently sitting fourth on the depth chart and that’s a place no player wants to be. If the Patriots elect to keep a fullback, will they keep five running backs? Maybe, maybe not, which is why I threw out the possibility that Vereen is on the roster bubble. Any player that’s that far down the depth chart would have to be considered on the bubble.

This may confuse some people, but I do think Vereen will be used in the NFL as a third down/change of pace back. I said earlier that that excuse was BS is because he’s not being used that way in practice or against the Saints. Because that’s the role I see from Vereen, I think he could be seen as redundant with Danny Woodhead. I said this on twitter earlier, but I’ll say it again. You need two running backs like Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden, you don’t need two backs like Woodhead and Vereen.

Back when Belichick and McDaniels were working together in 2008 and 2009, it was common to see the Patriots take the three RBs and one FB approach. In recent years, it’s been more common for the Patriots and McDaniels coached offenses to keep four RBs and one FB. That could mean the difference between Vereen staying on the roster or not.

Once again, I don’t think Vereen will get cut, I don’t think he’ll get traded, but when you’re fourth on the depth chart, that possibility does exist. With all the high hopes we had for Taylor Price last year as a second year player, I don’t think anyone expected him to get cut midway through the season. Vereen and Price’s essentially redshirted first years were very similar. Now Vereen needs to prove that he worked harder in the offseason and knows the offense better than Price.

That is what it’s all about in the Patriots system, trust. Tom Brady, Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick need to trust Shane Vereen to know the playbook and be in the right place at the right time.

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13 Responses to “Is Shane Vereen on the Roster Bubble?”

  1. Tim says:

    Great analysis. Please get a job as GM of the Jets

  2. Descendency says:

    “Now, do I think Vereen will get cut? No, I don’t. ”

    Then he’s not on the bubble.

  3. I think they will keep Vereen,Ridley,Woodhead and Larson on active squad and put Bolden on practice squad. I also think they will use Woodhead and Vereen splitting time as 3rd down backs for 1st few games to see how they do, then expand to 1st down duties if Ridley has problems holding onto the ball.

  4. Karnak says:


  5. Freemanator says:

    Are we sure Vereen is 4th on the depth chart?

    Let me outline why I think he is 2nd equal.
    I think Ridley is currently sitting at 1 on the depth chart with, Vereen and Woodhead both 2nd equal (equal because Woodhead’s role is more specialised than Vereen’s), and Brandon Bolden is 4th.
    I think that this means Bolden is on the bubble, because of the dchance that we might keep 3 RBs and 1 FB, instead of 4 RBs or 4RBs and 1 FB.

    So why do I think it is Bolden on the bubble and not Vereen, despite Bolden getting snaps first?

    Well if you want to test out your bubble players then it makes sense to give them higher quality opposition for their snaps, to see if they are good against medium talent as opposed to bottom talent.

    In this case BB is deciding whether to keep Bolden or a fullback, probably Kettani, and so wants to see what he can do, and so sends him out 2nd to test him against higher quality defenders. He will keep Vereen because he still deserves a chance to show what he can do, and after he performed well against the Saints.

    Given how they performed, I expect he will give Vereen some early reps to compare him against Ridley for challenging the 1st role on the depth chart, and worry a bit less with trying Bolden against higher quality opposition.

  6. JMC says:

    Which RB/FB is the best blocker?

  7. VT Bill says:

    I can’t see Vereen getting cut, but a trade could certainly be in the cards. 4 RB’s would be easy if no FB were kept, and with 2 big backs and Hernandez, why would you keep a FB except for special teams?
    Demps is pretty interesting with his blazing speed. I don’t know how many projects you can carry on a 53 man roster.

  8. Rich says:

    You should really have links to your sister sites on here. It’s annoying that I want to check out your Seahawks site but can’t remember the name and I have to go to your twitter account to find it.

    Also when I started reading this site I had no idea you had other AFC east teams so maybe links would help spread the word.

  9. gurucrash says:

    I think you do a great job , this is my favorite patriot site

  10. AM says:

    I think that the previous complaints about Vereen being on the bubble stem from the definition. The fact that a player is low on the depth chart doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with roster status. The fourth WR on the team, for example, isn’t on the roster bubble, because there is no way that the team goes into the season with only three WR. If you really think that the team will go into the season with only 3 HB (perhaps in addition to a FB), then it stands to reason that either Vereen or Bolden is on the bubble. I would put the odds of carrying only 3 HB quite low, though, meaning that Vereen’s job is almost certainly safe.

  11. Shane Vereen says:

    Again, peg me down for 1000+ total yd and 40 recs. I’m a matchup problem for defenses as you can line me up in the slot…just get me in open space and you’ll see why I was drafted in the 2nd round. Last year was basically a red shirt year and I intend be another weapon in the Pats arsenal.

    Roster bubble?? Perhaps for a 25 man team….

    • Stephen S says:

      Hey Shane aren’t you suppose to be on the practice field from 1:30-4 pm lol. Good Luck to you.

      Just reading about Jeff Demps any thoughts about pursuing him or is it to late in the process seems to me he would be useful as a return guy which seems to be a position of need but then again he would probably count towards a RB position decisions decisions decisions.

    • Cullen Coleman says:

      That is the greatest reply ive ever seen. I have faith in football metrics and Shane Vereen.

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