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Shane Vereen has an impressive finish to the 2012 season.
The running back out of Cal—who was "compared to Marshall Faulk" by his former associate head coach and running game coordinator, Ron Gould—really came on strong at the end of the 2012 season, turning in impressive performances down the stretch and in the postseason against the Houston Texans.
And with the departure of Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez and Danny Woodhead, the versatile running back will be deployed a number of ways in 2013, provided he stays healthy. Over the course of the preseason, Vereen was lined up in several spots, including the backfield, in the slot and out wide.
If the Patriots can consistently find favorable matchups for Vereen (particularly against linebackers), they will look to get him into space as much as possible. In his first two preseason games, we saw a small sample of what he's capable of—against Philly and Tampa, he averaged eight yards every time he touched the ball, both as a ball-carrier and a receiver out of the backfield.
While he stumbled with a bad fumble in the third preseason game against the Lions, if he stays healthy, expect him to have a major role in the New England offense this season.