Shane Vereen has officially signed a 3 Year 12.35 Million dollar deal with the New York Giants. This should have an immediate positive impact on Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and the rest of the Giants offense. From a pure productivity standpoint, Shane Vereen had 52 catches this past regular season on 595 snaps played, while Giants Running Backs Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams had a combined 48 catches on 938 snaps. Vereen will undoubtedly provide the Giants with scheme versatility and serve as a security blanket for Eli Manning. Most importantly, Vereen will open up passing windows by drawing the attention of underneath defenders.
Shane Vereen is one of the few running backs who is excellent as a receiver out of the backfield but also a viable run threat. This allows him to line up all over the field and helps the Quarterback tremendously. In short yardage or goal line situations, Eli Manning will now be able to check to the best possible play depending on the defense’s alignment and personnel. In the play below, Vereen comes in motion from out wide to the backfield. Based on the Jets defense’s reaction and alignment, Tom Brady now knows its zone coverage. From there, Vereen runs a simple out route from the backfield and nearly shakes Demario Davis out of his shoes before making a tough catch for the TD.
The Patriots loved this option-type route with Vereen, where he would expand from the backfield and then have the choice of breaking in, settling, or breaking out. In addition to his abilities as a receiver, Vereen is also powerful enough to run the ball and fall forward in short yardage situations when needed:
Vereen can be a matchup nightmare when lined up out wide, and defenses must pick their poison: either use up a cornerback to cover a running back, or remove a linebacker from the box and risk covering Vereen 1 on 1. In the play below, Vereen goes in motion and establishes that the defense is in man to man coverage. Tom Brady knows exactly where he’s going pre-snap, as most linebackers simply cannot keep up with Vereen:
What Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. may appreciate most is Vereen’s ability to be a decoy and draw the attention of underneath defenders. Vereen tied a Super Bowl record with 11 catches in Super Bowl 49. After picking up a few key first downs, the Seattle defense began to clamp down and pay extra attention to Vereen. Right before half, the Patriots isolated Rob Gronkowski out wide. As you’ll see below, instead of helping outside linebacker K.J. Wright cover Gronkowski, both free safety Earl Thomas and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner jump down to bracket Shane Vereen. This gives Gronkowski a 1 on 1 matchup and a relatively easy score:
Vereen can have this same impact on Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham Jr. had no trouble getting open this year, but defenses began to shift coverages in order to bracket him. This will be harder to do with Vereen coming out of the backfield, especially on 3rd and 6 or less. Overall, look for Vereen to have a significant positive impact on the Giants offense.