Shane Vereen hasn't been flagged for a single penalty since he arrived in the NFL in 2011. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Shane Vereen hasn’t been flagged for a single penalty since he arrived in the NFL in 2011. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — In a year where penalty flags have been thrown at a record rate, Shane Vereen is one of the lucky ones.

The Patriots running back is one of four regulars on this year’€™s New England roster who has yet to be penalized. Vereen, Vince Wilfork, Devin McCourty and Chris Jones are the four players on the 2014 team who have played at least 475 snaps this season without being hit with a penalty.

But Vereen has taken that streak to the next level. The 2011 draft pick has yet to be flagged as a professional. That’€™s three-plus seasons in the league without a single penalty — per Pro Football Focus, 1,020 snaps as a professional without a flag.

Informed after practice on Thursday that he had yet to be penalized as a professional, Vereen was taken aback.

“€œShoot,” he said with a smile. “That’€™s crazy. Really?

“I don’€™t know. It’€™s interesting,” he said after a second. “I really don’€™t think about it. I just play and do the best I can. I really don’€™t think of penalties.

“Now you have me thinking I need to go get one. Get my rep up a little bit.”

Historically, running backs are some of the least penalized players on the team, because they simply have fewer chances to be flagged. (By way of comparison, in the same stretch, fellow running back Stevan Ridley — who arrived as part of the same draft class as Vereen — has only two penalties as a pro.) For a pass-catcher like Vereen, however, there’€™s always the possibility of him getting hit with an offensive pass interference call. In addition, his work in blitz pickup (holding) could also leave him susceptible.

Vereen said he’€™d “definitely been flagged in college” a few times when he was at Cal for offsides and holding, but was still amazed that he hadn’€™t been hit with a penalty since he arrived in the league in 2011.

“€œI guess technique is the best explanation,” when asked about the secret to his success. “We practice good technique. A lot of times, the stuff I’€™d probably get called for probably doesn’€™t get called too often. It has to be pretty blatant and out in the open, so as a running back, you’€™re able to get away with some of that sort of stuff. Really, the biggest thing is just practicing good technique and putting your hands in the right places so you don’€™t get called.”

Vereen is also making statistical waves in other areas as well. He’€™s currently only one of six running backs in the league who can boast of at least 85 carries and 45 catches, part of a group that includes high-profile backs like DeMarco Murray of Dallas, Matt Forte of Chicago, Le’€™Veon Bell of Pittsburgh, Fred Jackson of Buffalo and Andre Ellington of Arizona.

If he gets to the 50-catch/50-carry mark, he’€™d be the first New England running back to do it since Kevin Faulk had 83 carries and 58 catches in 2008. Only four running backs in franchise history have ever hit the 50-50 plateau — Faulk (2000 and 2008), Dave Meggett (1995), Leroy Thompson (1994) and Tony Collins (1985 and 1986).

Vereen said Thursday he takes pride in his work as a pass catcher.

“It’€™s huge. It’€™s huge. It means a lot to me,” he said. “I take a lot of pride in being able to do three things — running, catching and pass blocking. I take a huge amount of pride in all three, and the fact that they look to me to be able to make a play and make the offense go.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Join Chris Price of WEEI.com to break down all things Patriots and the NFL, Friday at noon. Price will help you get ready for the Pats‘€˜ Sunday showdown with the Jets, while looking at the landscape of the league heading into the regular season’€™s final stretch.

Live Blog Chris Price Live Patriots Chat
 

Blog Author: 
WEEI
Mike Haynes played for the Patriots from 1976 to 1982. (Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Mike Haynes played for the Patriots from 1976 to 1982. (Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

FOXBORO — When he was in San Diego recently, Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis had the chance to catch up with former New England cornerback Mike Haynes.

Haynes, who was drafted by the Patriots in 1976, played his first seven seasons with New England before finishing his career with seven years with the Raiders. Revis said “it was great” getting the chance to connect with a Pro Football Hall of Famer.

“Just picking his brain and asking him how he covered wide receivers, his techniques,” Revis said after practice on Thursday. “And some of them were similar in the things he was talking about and sharing. And some were different. I definitely took some of his tips and will hopefully try to use them in my game.”

Revis said Haynes — who currently lives in Southern California — was invited to spend some time with the Patriots by coach Bill Belichick.

“When I saw him at first, I was kind of like, ‘€˜I know I know that face.’€™ It looked familiar,” Revis recalled. “Then Bill brought him around the team and introduced him and said, ‘€˜Hey, this is Mike Haynes.’€™ I’€™m like, ‘€˜I knew it. I knew it was him.’€™ I just waited around afterward. A bunch of guys did. Me, Brandon Browner, Devin McCourty and we actually got to talk to him.

“It’€™s just my position and being a fan of those guys,” he added. “They’€™re very successful at what they do, so why not ask questions, so see what answers you can get from those guys.”

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

There were no changes to the Patriots’ injury report from Wednesday, as every player was present at Thursday’s practice in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Jets at MetLife Stadium.

There were no changes to the Patriots’ injury report from Wednesday, as every player was present at Thursday’s practice in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Jets at MetLife Stadium.

12 players were limited though, including Julian Edelman (thigh/concussion). With Edelman staying the same as he did on Wednesday, it is a good sign for his availability on Sunday. A concussion popped up next to his name on the report on Wednesday. It is still unknown when he suffered the concussion. LeGarrette Blount (shoulder), Kyle Arrington (hamstring) and Danny Aiken (finger) are among the 12 players limited.

One small note is that Dan Connolly‘s ankle injury has been changed to a knee injury. He was limited.

Quarterback Tom Brady (ankle) remained a full participant.

Here is a complete practice report:

Limited participation

LS Danny Aiken (finger)
CB Kyle Arrington (hamstring)
RB LeGarrette Blount (shoulder)
OL Dan Connolly (knee)
WR Julian Edelman (thigh/concussion)
OL Cameron Fleming (ankle)
LB Dont’€™a Hightower (shoulder)
DE Chandler Jones (hip)
WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder)
DE Rob Ninkovich (heel)
RB Shane Vereen (ankle)
LB Chris White (ankle)

Full participation

QB Tom Brady (ankle)

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

First-year referee Brad Allen will work as the referee for Sunday’s Patriots-Jets game at MetLife, according to FootballZebras.com.

Brad Allen will work as the lead official for Patriots-Jets Sunday. (A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Brad Allen will work as the lead official for Patriots-Jets Sunday. (A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

First-year referee Brad Allen will work as the referee for Sunday’s Patriots-Jets game at MetLife, according to FootballZebras.com.

This will mark Allen’s second New England game of the season — he was the official for the Oct. 23 game between the Patriots and Bears. Allen, who was one of three new hires this offseason, worked as a referee in the ACC for the past nine years, and has also worked as the head official for the 2012 Rose Bowl and the 2014 Sugar Bowl.

Here’s a look at who has worked as the lead official for each New England game this year, and the corresponding penalties for each game, not counting the flags that were offset or declined.

Sept. 7 at Miami: Walt Anderson — 9 penalties, 100 yards (Dolphins — 4 penalties, 26 yards)
Sept. 14 at Minnesota: Tony Corrente — 15 penalties, 163 yards (Vikings — 7 penalties, 58 yards)
Sept. 21 vs. Oakland: Pete Morelli — 6 penalties, 59 yards (Raiders — 6 penalties, 49 yards)
Sept. 29 at Kansas City: John Parry — 3 penalties, 30 yards (Chiefs — 4 penalties, 35 yards)
Oct. 5 vs. Cincinnati: Jerome Boger — 12 penalties, 114 yards (Bengals — 4 penalties, 37 yards)
Oct. 12 at Buffalo: Walt Coleman — 9 penalties, 60 yards (Bills — 8 penalties, 107 yards)
Oct. 16 vs. Jets: Bill Leavy — 9 penalties, 64 yards (Jets — 7 penalties, 70 yards)
Oct. 23 vs. Chicago: Brad Allen — 7 penalties, 38 yards (Bears — 5 penalties, 41 yards)
Nov. 2 vs. Denver: Walt Anderson — 9 penalties, 71 yards (Broncos — 10 penalties, 72 yards)
Nov. 16 at Indy: Pete Morelli — 5 penalties, 53 yards (Colts — 4 penalties, 27 yards)
Nov. 23 vs. Detroit: Tony Corrente — 11 penalties, 89 yards (Lions — 9 penalties, 54 yards)
Nov. 30 at Green Bay: Ed Hochuli — 4 penalties, 25 yards (Packers — 4 penalties, 22 yards)
Dec. 7 at San Diego: Bill Leavy — 6 penalties, 70 yards (Chargers — 8 penalties, 61 yards)
Dec. 14 vs. Miami: Bill Vinovich — 5 penalties, 51 yards (Dolphins — 5 penalties, 35 yards)
Dec. 21 at Jets: Brad Allen

For more on Allen’s work as a referee, check out his page at Pro Football Reference. For more information on this week’s assignments, click through to the always reliable Football Zebras. And for more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — With the debate around Darrelle Revis and Rob Gronkowski as potential MVP candidates, this afternoon in the Patriots locker room, we decided to ask each player about the other one and what they bring to the field.

FOXBORO — With the debate around Darrelle Revis and Rob Gronkowski as potential MVP candidates, this afternoon in the Patriots locker room, we decided to ask each player about the other one and what they bring to the field.

“He’s a great player,” Gronkowski said of Revis. “He’s just so great with ball skills and he’s just so relaxed out there. You don’t even think he’s trying — that’s how good he is. When you see a player like that, you’re like, ‘Man, is he trying?’ He’s just right at the ball every time. That just means he’s got a lot of skills and he’s quick on his feet. The day he can react to a ball is unbelievable. He’s a great corner. It’s great to have him on our team.”

“The same stuff you see in the game, he’s doing at practice,” Revis said of Gronkowski. “He’s humble. He’s humble about it — the way he approaches the game. He goes out and works. He works at it. Him and Tom [Brady], the chemistry they have, you see them working at it, week in and week out at practice. You just have to give them credit for what they do. They’re working hard, and the catches you see in the game are the ones you see in practice. You’re just in awe sometimes of how much chemistry they have between the two.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

All Patriots players were in attendance at the start of practice Thursday afternoon at Gillette Stadium, according to multiple reports. The team is preparing for Sunday’s game against the Jets at MetLife Stadium.