BOSTON (CBS) – When Rob Gronkowski went down on Sunday, the New England Patriots knew it wasn’t good for their All Pro tight end.
The Patriots were trailing 12-0 in the third quarter when Gronk’s knee was torn apart by the helmet of Cleveland’s T.J. Ward. Everyone on offense knew their job just got a little tougher, but there was no pep-talk needed.
“Nothing had to be said,” running back Shane Vereen told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Gresh & Zolak on Wednesday. “We just went out there and ran the same plays and just executed. The ball went to a few different people, it came to me more, but that’s what the offense has to do. When a key part of our offense like Gronk goes down, everyone has to step up around him.”
Tale of the Tape: Patriots vs. Dolphins
Vereen went on to lead the Patriots in receptions in Sunday’s comeback win, hauling in 12 catches for 153 yards on 17 targets. With Gronk out the rest of the season, Vereen could now become the focus in Tom Brady’s offense.
But he won’t be preparing for Sundays any differently.
“I think the preparation for me has always been the same. I always look at each day as a day to get ahead and prepare for the game on Sunday,” said Vereen. “Whenever my number is called it’s up to me to be prepared and ready to go, to execute whatever play or situation they put me in. When the play is called, I have to go out there and do my thing.”
The Patriots have had some very inconsistent play to start each of the last three games, but have been able to mount comebacks in the second half in each of them. Vereen says that while the team is happy to get the wins, they need to be better for a full 60 minutes.
“It’s a little bit of both because we know we can be better,” he said. “It’s always frustrating when you’re not playing up to your potential, but we’ve been resilient and have come back in the second half and come out with victories. We’re frustrated that we could be better, but at the same time we’re happy we’re able to come out victorious.”
Vereen also gives his thoughts on the Miami Dolphins, and to get into the spirit, Gresh & Zo ask him about his favorite Holiday goodies: