Shane Vereen reportedly has broken bone in wrist, will miss a few weeks

Shane VereenThe New England Patriots’ running back situation looked extremely muddled after Sunday’s win over the Buffalo Bills. Stevan Ridley was benched early on after fumbling twice (losing one of them) and replaced by Shane Vereen. Ridley was expected to remain the starter, but Vereen was likely going to see an increased workload after racking up over 150 yards of total offense. Instead, he has a broken wrist.

Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported on Monday that Vereen broke a small bone in his wrist on the first play of the game against the Bills. He was able to play through it but experienced some numbness. He is scheduled for surgery on Monday and expected to miss a few weeks.

With that, Ridley will immediately be given a chance to redeem himself. LeGarrette Blount is more of a short yardage back who is not really capable of handling a full workload or even 50% of New England’s total carries. Ridley is clearly the most talented back the Patriots have on their roster with Vereen out. He needs to stop putting the ball on the ground if a now-thin Patriots’ backfield is to be successful.

Stevan Ridley benched after fumble; Shane Vereen goes beast

Stevan RidleyFantasy owners who drafted Stevan Ridley have to be nervous after what happened on Sunday.

Ridley was benched by the New England Patriots after losing a fumble in the second quarter of a 23-21 win over the Buffalo Bills. Ridley had nine carries for 46 yards, but the fumble was his second of the game, though the first he lost. Da’Norris Searcy recovered the fumble and went 74 yards for a Buffalo touchdown, which probably gave the Pats extra reasons to bench the back.

Ridley entered the game with five fumbles (two lost) in his NFL career. He now has seven fumbles (three lost) in 33 career games.

Prior to Ridley’s lost fumble, Shane Vereen only had one rush for 7 yards in the game. But Ridley saw most of the work after that and finished with 101 yards on 14 carries. He also had seven catches for 58 yards.

We don’t expect Ridley to lose his spot as the team’s starter, but this may have opened the door for Vereen and LeGarrette Blount to see more carries in the future. Vereen certainly played like he’s deserving of more action.

Patriots RB Shane Vereen: Aaron Hernandez arrest ‘definitely’ surprising

Shane VereenAaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and five other gun-related charges for the shooting death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd last month. As soon as Hernandez was implicated in the murder, the New England Patriots began distancing themselves from the tight end. They cut him the morning he was arrested.

Though the team and owner Robert Kraft have commented on Hernandez, very little has been heard from the team’s current players. LBS spoke with Pats running back Shane Vereen on Monday about the team’s reaction to the situation.

“I haven’t really talked to many guys,” Vereen told Larry Brown Sports, “but the guys I have talked to, we’re still united, we’re still a team. It’s something we have to move on from and focus on the season.”

Vereen, who is entering his third season in the league, spoke to LBS at the Bear Trap Entertainment All-Star Celebrity Kickoff Party at the Playboy Mansion on Monday night, and said he was surprised by Hernandez’s arrest.

“Definitely,” Vereen answered when asked if the arrest surprised him. “But at the same time, we don’t really know much about it. At the same time all we can really do is go out and play football and do what we can do.”

[Related: Ex-Pats OL Matt Light never believed in what Hernandez stood for]

There were reports that Vereen lined up as a receiver at times during the spring and that he could do that some more during the season as a way of filling Hernandez’s role in the offense. Vereen was vague about those plans when asked.

“We do a lot of things with our offense. A lot of people with a lot of different positions. I’ve lined up at receiver before, we might do it again this year. You never know. Depends on what the coaches feel like.”

Vereen is hoping the team and offense can repeat their past success in the upcoming season.

“Hopefully some wins,” Vereen said when asked about expectations for the season. “It’s all about the team, it’s all about the offense as a unit. Hopefully we can be as successful as we’ve been in past seasons.”

Vereen is the latest in a strong line of running backs to come from Cal. From J.J. Arrington to Marshawn Lynch to Justin Forsett, Jahvid Best, and now Vereen, Cal has put a number of running backs in the NFL in the past decade. Vereen told LBS that is a source of pride for them.

“Yeah, we take big pride in that. A lot of is credit to our former running back coach Ron Gould, who’s now the head coach at UC Davis. We work hard at that and take pride in it.”

Vereen saw an increased workload last season and more action in the playoffs. With Danny Woodhead gone, he should see even more work this season.