Running Back Shane Vereen
November 11, 2015
Q: Have you been able to keep up with what they’ve been doing when you haven’t been playing?
A: You mean with New England? Not really. I mean, I’ll get into it this week and study them just like I would study any other team that we’re going against. But no, I haven’t really been keeping up with them that much.
Q: Do you find that you might have an advantage going against them since you practiced against that defense, same coach, probably the same coordinator?
A: Yes and no. Because yes, I have practiced against it but at the same time, Coach Belichick is known for switching things up on Sundays. So keeping my eyes open, just play the way I feel and see what I see and play off of that.
Q: Are you saying this is just another game even though you played for them and won a Super Bowl?
A: I mean I’m not saying it’s just another game. Obviously, for those guys who were on the team last year, I’m sure it’s a little more special. I know for me, it is. But we’re going to go out, we’re going to play Sunday just like we would any other Sunday. We’ve got to prepare, we’ve got to get ready to go this week more than ever.
Q: Is this a good place though to make a statement for you guys because a lot of people may not believe that you’re as good as you think you are. You beat the Patriots and no one will doubt that.
A: Yeah, we’re going up against the best team we’ve played so far this season, obviously undefeated. So it’s a great test, a great opportunity, I think. Great chance for us to test what we’ve got up against an undefeated team.
Q: You mentioned they’re pretty used to teams facing them and feeling that way though.
A: Yeah. I’m pretty sure they’ll be well-prepared. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, they’ll be prepared on Sunday.
Q: Is this a different Patriots team in the sense that in the past they always had the offense but this year it seems like their defense is a little bit better, too?
A: Honestly you could look across the board and try and find a weakness and your guess is as good as mine. Defensively, offensively—I’m looking at the defense, they’re strong. All the way around, they’re strong. So we’re going to have to play well.
Q: This might be one his better teams then?
A: I don’t know where it ranks among the teams that he’s had. They’ve contested ever since Coach Belichick has gotten there, really. So that’s a good question. I know they’re good, I know they’re undefeated, and I know we’re going to have to play well.
Q: If you were to put one label on what a Belichick defense is, what would you say?
A: Physical. They play physical, they play strong, they play tough and they try to come at you from all different angles.
Q: Has Spags pulled you aside this week and said, “Hey, give me something.”
A: No, not at all. I’m pretty sure he’s very confident in his coaching skills, as well.
Q: Have you heard from any former teammates?
A: Not yet, but I’ve always had contact with them throughout the year. So it wouldn’t be nothing different.
Q: You know they know you better than anybody else and vice versa. Who do you think has an edge in a situation like that?
A: I guess we’ll see on Sunday. That’s a good question, I’ve been going back and forth with it. At the end of the day, just got to wait and see how it all plays out.
Q: But you know that he’s probably not going to let you beat them.
A: Yeah. The thought has crossed my mind, but like I said, they’ve done so many different things on defense, you really don’t know what you’re going to get until you actually see it and you get it on Sunday. They’ve done it for however long, how many games they’ve played this year. They’ve always done something different. So we’ll see how it plays out on Sunday.
Q: In that instance, though, is it easy enough to adjust to what you have to do in order to match them?
A: In a sense, yeah. I guess it kind of depends if throughout the week you were anticipating them going to a certain coverage, then yeah, it’s not too difficult to adjust. But if they do something that you weren’t expecting, then yeah, you have to figure out a way to beat it, you’ve got to go adjust, and that’s a little bit more of a learning process.
Q: Dion Lewis had, in a lot of ways, your role in the offense. Is that tough to pick up for somebody new in a week?
A: The guys that they’ve got there have been there since I’ve been there, really. But the guys in the backfield there know the offense very well, so I doubt there’d be much of a drop off.
Q: Do you think the Giants have to use the running game to keep Tom Brady off the field?
A: I think we’re going to have to get first downs to keep Tom Brady off the field. Whether we run it, whether we pass it, we’re going to have to get first downs, stay on the field, convert the chains, and score points at the end of the day.
Q: How do you get the running game going against these guys, who are stout against the run?
A: Physical, physical and run it. You’ve got to stick with it and you’ve got to be physical. They’re a great defense, especially the front seven is big and they play downhill. So it’s going to a tough challenge for us, but we’re going to accept it.
Q: Realistically, how much of an advantage can you have from the time you spent there? You spent a lot of time there.
A: Not much because of the game plan and because of the way their offense has progressed, I’m sure, from the time I left until now. I’m sure it’s completely different—different words, different everything. So my information is probably only good up to a certain point. At some point, their new stuff takes over.
Q: What was it like to catch 11 passes in the Super Bowl? Did you feel at some point that they couldn’t cover you anymore?
A: No, I just felt like we had a good handle on what they were going to do defensively, where the soft spots were in the defense, I had a good feeling of that. And then we just went out and played.
Q: To have the trust of a quarterback like Brady in such a big game, what did that mean to you and how has it helped you going forward?
A: Yeah, it’s huge. That was my fourth year last year, so if we weren’t on the same page then, it’d be an issue. But what it just says is once you get to know your quarterback, once you’re on the same page, you kind of think the same and you can play fast and everyone is kind of clicking just a step faster.
Q: What was Brady like in the huddle in the fourth quarter? You guys were down by 10 in that game and he led two touchdown drives.
A: Encouraging. Focused—that’d probably be the biggest word, focused. And he came back and put two drives together, we put two drives together, and went down to win.
Q: Did he try to keep it light at all? Some quarterbacks joke around.
A: Yeah, some quarterbacks do that. He’s not really that type, no. He’s not going to keep it light in crunch time. He’ll come in and he’ll let you know exactly how he’s feeling. “We’ve got to get a drive. We need this one,” and go ahead and do it, and he’ll stay focused and move on from there.
Q: How are Tom and Bill similar, I guess? Different?
A: Similar or different?
A: We’d be here all day. Similar, I guess they both want to win. They both put everything aside and do everything that they can to be perfectionists and to be winners. They both compete extremely hard and they’re both exceptionally great at what they do.
Q: Was it similar in terms of the culture, maybe that’s not the right word, to come from New England and be here? Obviously, Belichick and Coughlin coached together here.
A: It wasn’t as much of a change as I thought it was going to be.
Q: It wasn’t as much of a change as you thought it would be? What did you think?
A: I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest. Just from what you hear from other guys around the league, you hear that New England is so much different, so you never really know. But being here, it’s not too much different, it’s really not.
Q: You talked about being on the same page with Tom Brady. Are you on the same page with Eli?
A: Getting there, getting there. Like I said, I had the same quarterback for four years. I haven’t even gotten through one year here with this system. So I’m definitely learning, definitely getting to that point. Yeah, we’ll get there.
Q: What have you learned about Eli?
A: That he’s a competitor. He’s not the most vibrant, he’s not always the loudest speaker in the room, but he’s a competitor. He’s a great leader and he’s who this team and this offense rally behind.