The New England Patriots haven’t reached an unparalleled level of success over the past two decades purely based on talent.
The Patriots often are the most prepared team on any given Sunday, which is a product of their sharp attention to detail. New England stresses the little things and prides itself on strong fundamentals. If you “do your job” as Bill Belichick often says, success usually will follow.
For former Patriots running back Shane Vereen, this was the greatest lesson learned from Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels during his time in Foxboro. While the ball didn’t always come his way, Vereen developed a greater understanding of the importance of always fulfilling his assignment on each play.
“It’s not necessarily catching the ball. It’s not necessarily getting open,” Vereen told ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “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.”
All young NFL players should take note of Vereen’s sentiment. It’s easy to become frustrated if you’re not stuffing the stat sheet, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not playing well. Doing the right things won’t go unnoticed by good coaches, who often find ways to reward these types of players.
It’s also these types of players who typically shine in the biggest moments. Just ask Vereen, whose 11 catches in Super Bowl XLIX helped the Patriots win their fourth championship in franchise history.
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