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Redskins @ Giants Week 3 Player Spotlight: Shane Vereen

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RB Shane Vereen is probably the second-biggest weapon on the Giants offense this year.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Shane Vereen

Running Back

Age: 26

Height: 5'10"

Weight: 205 lbs.

College: California

NFL Draft: 2011 - Round: 2 - Pick: 56

Form

Shane Vereen has been huge for the Giants through two games this year, particularly last week against the Falcons.  While he's only had nine carries for 33 rushing yards on the year, Vereen's particular threat has always been as a receiver out of the backfield.  He's already amassed 12 receptions for 122 yards (10.2 yards per reception) on the year with 8 receptions and 76 yards of that coming just two days ago.  What's more is that he was targeted eight times and caught every single ball that came his way.  He finished the day second on the team in both receptions and receiving yards behind only Odell Beckham, Jr.  In fact, aside from OBJ, no other WR even managed more than 17 receiving yards against the Falcons.  Vereen is essentially their WR2.  Expect that to continue.

Skills

Vereen fits that Darren Sproles/Danny Woodhead mold of a player and it's the first time this season that the Redskins will face someone with skills like that.  It might be the first time they've ever faced a Giants team that deployed a guy like that and it's obvious that Ben McAdoo and Eli Manning know what to do with him.  Vereen reminds a lot of people of Randall Cobb, actually.  The Giants use him very similarly to how the Packers like to use Cobb (at least when they have Jordy Nelson healthy and playing).  He excels in motion, can work screens well, and can be featured in a variety of gadget plays.  He keeps the defense spread and is particularly valuable on third downs and as a safety net for Eli Manning.  In my opinion, he's the Giants best RB.

Potential Against the Redskins

The Redskins travel to play the Giants at an interesting point in the 2015 campaign for both the Giants as a team and Shane Vereen personally.  Through the first two weeks, Vereen has pretty clearly shown to be the best RB on the Giants roster.  His opportunities increased a lot from week one to week two and at this point, many fans and pundits in the NY media are calling for Vereen to be the Giants main/featured/lead back.  He has more play-making ability than anyone else on that roster outside of OBJ.

Rashad Jennings, the current starting RB for the Giants, has averaged 2.9 ypc this year and only managed 12 yards on nine carries last week.  Andre Williams is a big, powerful, short-yardage back who is perfectly competent in that role.  He's limited as a play-maker.  The most carries Vereen has ever had in a season during his career is 96.  That was last year with New England.  He averaged a respectable 4.1 ypc and gained 391 rushing yards.  He clearly offers the best combination as a runner and receiver (and the receiving part isn't remotely close).  When Jennings and/or Williams are in the game, the Redskins can pretty much recognize that the Giants will either be running the ball, or not throwing it to those RBs.  Vereen provides an ability to have another option on the field as a receiver and yet still provide a threat as a runner, too.  Could this be the week when and where Vereen takes over as the lead back for the Giants?  I suspect it may very well be...

Interesting Facts

In HS, Vereen played basketball and ran track in addition to football.  He even competed in track at Cal, too.  He graduated HS with a 4.0 GPA and graduated college in 3.5 years with a degree in Media Studies.  After graduating, he decided to skip his last year of collegiate eligibility and go pro.  Shane's father Henry was drafted by the Tampa Bay Bucs in the ninth round of the 1979 draft as a WR.  He went on to play in the CFL.  Shane's younger brother Brock was drafted in the fourth round last year by the Chicago Bears and plays safety.   Another interesting thing of note is that Shane Vereen is sixth all-time at Cal in total all-purpose yards in a single season.  The star RB at Call prior to Vereen?  Jahvid Best.  In '09, Shane racked up 1,757 total yards.  Both of Shane's parents went to UNLV and were athletes there.  His mom was a tennis player and his dad was a WR.  Check Shane out here: @ShaneVereen34