The job of a pass-catcher seems simple. There are two steps – to get open and catch the ball. Those two steps have their enormous complications, and former Patriots running back Shane Vereen explained why it’s not as easy as it seems.
Vereen learned an interesting lesson while playing for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and quarterback Tom Brady.
“It’s not necessarily catching the ball. It’s not necessarily getting open,” Vereen said. “What it is, it’s getting to the right spot. Getting to the spot where the quarterback expects you to be. Getting to the spot where there is no defense — if it’s a zone, sitting in the void; if it’s man, breaking away the right way, not running into another route. Those things aren’t really talked about … I don’t think a lot of people pay enough attention to it … but those are even more important than actually catching the ball and making a play.”
Running routes for Brady is without a doubt challenging. Brady is known for being picky about where and when he wants his receivers. If they’re not perfect, they don’t get the ball. Both experienced and young receivers have flunked out of New England’s system because they weren’t able to reach Brady’s high standards.
This revelation is an interesting way of thinking about New England’s system. And considering the fact that Shane Vereen caught 11 balls from Brady in Super Bowl XLIX, he probably knows what he’s talking about.
Shane also spoke about Patriots’ offense without Rob Gronkowski.
“With Gronk out, they will have guys to come in to fill his spot. They won’t be Gronk, don’t get me wrong. There is not another Gronk. We won’t see another Gronk for a very, very long time, if we ever see another one. But they have enough talent on that team and they have enough wherewithal to figure it out and still be successful. They’ve done it for years.”