Under first-year New York Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, Eli Manning set a career high in completion percentage (63.1) while throwing for an impressive 4,410 yards with 30 touchdowns and 14 interceptions (his lowest total since 2009). It wasn't all good, of course, as New York's offensive line struggled and the team finished just 6-10. But there were enough positive signs to convince the Giants that 2015 could see a leap forward.
One obvious reason is second-year phenom Odell Beckham Jr. who was arguably the NFL's best wide receiver over the second half of the season. Now fully healthy, Beckham is expected to be Manning's No. 1 weapon from the get-go. But another reason for New York's optimism is pass-catching running back Shane Vereen. While he may not lead the Giants backfield in touches, he could still have a significant impact.
"The reason I'm excited about Vereen is that I have wanted a player like him in a Big Blue uniform for years," Alex Sinclair of SB Nation wrote. "I have pondered how this team would use a Darren Sproles/Danny Woodhead type player and finally, I think we have our man. Vereen was never featured in the Patriots' featureless offense. It didn't matter who came into that system because they had Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. The best argument for this comes in the form of Chad Ochocinco-Johnson playing in a Super Bowl. The Patriots won't miss Vereen, but the Giants should love him. Expect to see him utilized similar to how Green Bay uses Randall Cobb. Motions, screens, gadget plays. The offense can open up a little with Vereen on the field. The marriage between this team and player should be mutually beneficial for all involved."
In 16 games for New England last season Vereen carried the ball 96 times for 391 yards (4.1 YPC) and two touchdowns. He also caught 52 passes for 447 yards and three additional scores. While Vereen will never be a feature back, his versatility could provide a big boost on third-downs. Manning will benefit from having a safety valve catching passes out of the backfield.