Yates on Pats' offense without Gronk

In a piece for ESPN Insider on ESPN.com, ESPNBoston.com's Field Yates digs into potential schemes the Patriots will employ if tight end Rob Gronkowski is unable to play at the start of the 2013 season due to his recovery from offseason surgeries.

The post examines the roots of the Patriots' two-tight end offense, the success they have had with two or more tight ends on the field, and how the Patriots may alter their offensive approach in 2013.

A player of note, writes Yates, is running back Shane Vereen:

"Among the players worth closely monitoring is running back Shane Vereen, a third-year pro who has natural talent as a receiver. Like Hernandez, he has the ability be used in various alignments around the formation, opening the door to the Patriots using him as a pre-snap motion player.

"He might leapfrog from the backfield to a flexed out alignment to a wide receiver alignment in three successive plays. He was successfully used as a split wide receiver on occasion in 2012, taking advantage of man coverage against linebackers (a Thanksgiving night performance against the Jets was the pinnacle of his season). The Patriots have long excelled at dictating matchups, something they can explore further with Vereen this season."

Ultimately, Yates concludes, the Patriots have the offensive pieces in place (personnel and coaches) to account for the potential Gronkowski absence, but it will be no easy task to do so.

To read the piece in its entirety, CLICK HERE.