Shane Vereen has officially been a member of the Giants for just one day and has already made headlines that will endear him to the supporters of Big Blue. He would surely be forgiven for speaking modestly after leaving the Super Bowl champions to join the 6-10 Giants, but in an introductory interview on the Giants official website Vereen called the switch to New York a “step up.”
“It was a decision with my family. At the end of the day, I wanted to make a decision that was right for us, right for them, and this is a great organization,” Vereen said of joining the Giants. “I [was] fortunate enough to play in New England with another great organization. This is not a step down; if anything, it is a step up. I am looking forward to the opportunity, and I am enjoying being in New York.”
The 2011 2nd round pick out of California made his name with the Patriots as an excellent receiver out of the backfield. Vereen caught 99 passes over the last two seasons in New England and averaged a strong 8.8 yards-per-reception over that period. His prowess as a third down back will no doubt be a welcome addition as the Giants look to give Manning more options in Ben McAdoo’s West Coast Offense.
“I think it is just a role I have always felt comfortable in. It has always been a role I have been tagged for,” Vereen said of his niche as a third down back. “I had to learn how to do that to get on the field. That is how it started in college. I had to pass protect to get on the field. I had to catch the ball to get on the field. When you are backed up against the wall and your only option is to get better, then that is what you work at.”
In last year’s draft the Giants undoubtedly struck gold with their first pick, bringing in one of last season’s most exciting talents in Odell Beckham Jr. With the signing of Vereen, Jerry Reese is looking to add excitement to a backfield that produced the least amount of runs over twenty yards last season in the entire league. How much Vereen ultimately contributes as a runner remains to be seen, but the former Patriot believes excitement is a key attribute he can bring to the table.
“I am going to try to be… an exciting player to watch,” Vereen said. “[I want] to try to be the best teammate I can be and be reliable more than anything.”
Given the role a pass-catching running back traditionally plays in a West Coast Offense, look for Vereen to have plenty of opportunities to provide that excitement.