New England Patriots explosive running back Shane Vereen is eligible to be activated from the short-term injured reserve this week, and all indications are that Vereen will be activated and make his first start since Week 1. Vereen had 159 yards from scrimmage while playing through a broken wrist that caused him to hit the short-term I.R., so he’s certainly a key member of the Patriots offense. Stevan Ridley is the starting RB and workhorse back, but Vereen can also run well and is one of the NFL’s premier receiving running backs. His ability to line up outside makes him a dangerous chess piece that the opponent has to scheme for, and he could be a big difference-maker in Monday night’s marquee matchup against a great, well-coached Carolina Panthers defense.
According to MassLive.com’s Nick Underhill, Shane Vereen was present at practice today, and the uber-versatile weapon is certainly on track to play this week against the Panthers. It would be an upset for him to not be activated and miss this week’s game, because he seems fully recovered from the wrist injury and has easily been meeting the timetable to this point.
Only one player was not present for the Patriots light practice session today, and that is starting strong safety Steve Gregory, who has easily been the Patriots most improved player this season. Gregory went from being a significant liability as a starter last season into being a solid starter who has improved his tackling ability. A leader on defense, Gregory is no longer a major liability in coverage either, which has also been huge for the Patriots defense.
Gregory broke his thumb against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the Patriots bye week gave some hope that Gregory has a very slight chance at playing this week against the Panthers. While that small chance remains, I highly doubt we see Gregory out there, as this injury should cost him at least one more week. With Gregory likely out, rookie Duron Harmon is fully expected to get the start.