This should come as no surprise, but Ian Rapoport of NFL Network says that New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen will be activated from the short-term injured reserve, and will play in tomorrow night's game against the Carolina Panthers.
From #NFLGameDay: #Patriots expect to activate RB Shane Vereen for Monday Night vs. #Panthers, barring a late change. Was on IR/to return— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 17, 2013
Vereen broke a small bone in his wrist in the first quarter of the Patriots' Week One matchup versus the Buffalo Bills. Despite the injury, the third-year back was a star; he carried the ball 14 times for 101 yards, and caught it 7 times for 58 yards.
With the product of California now 100 percent healthy, the Patriots are still expected to ease him back into the rotation on Monday.
Not enough can be said about the impact Shane Vereen will make on the field. He is an immediate upgrade over Brandon Bolden, who is a quality player, but doesn't bring the same dynamics as Vereen.
With Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount as the workhorses of this stable of backs, Vereen can be sprinkled in as a jack-of-all-trades. He can run efficient routes as a receiver, or run the ball successfully out of the backfield. His versatility will allow the Patriots to play more up-tempo, keeping opposing defenses on their heels.
A lot has been made about the Patriots' lack of utilization of the no-huddle this season, but as the team gets healthy, and the young receivers continue to develop, I think we will see it more frequently very soon. That could happen as soon as tomorrow night on MNF in Carolina.