Saturday, March 8, 2014
It's been so long since the Patriots have played - their last game was Nov. 3 - I've forgotten who their quarterback is.
Oh yeah. Tom Brady. He's probably going to do something special tonight.
According to the Patriots, Brady will make his 185th start with Bill Belichick tonight in Carolina, setting an NFL record. Dan Marino and Don Shula were together for 184 starts.
But that's not the big news entering the game tonight.
Running back Shane Vereen has been activated off the short-term Injured Reserve and is probable to play. Vereen has been out since Sept. 10 with a broken wrist suffered in the season opener at Buffalo two days earlier.
In that game, he rushed for 101 yards, while catching seven balls for 58 yards.
He provides a game-changing back that the Patriots have lacked since his injury.There may be more explosive players on the team, but fewer with his versatility. His ability to play on the perimeter, where the Patriots often line him up as a wide receiver, creates mismatch problems for any defense, even one as good as Carolina's.
It will be interesting to see how much the Patriots will use him in the game, given the time he has lost this year. But they are finally healthy on offense, with tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Danny Amendola also playing, and that can only mean good things against teams like Carolina and, next week, Denver.
And one last note on the game: the Patriots have won their last five games on Monday Night Football.
Should be a good one.
Mike Lowe has covered the New England Patriots since 1999 for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and has had a nice view of their emergence as one of the NFL’s premier franchises.
He’s been at the paper since 1982 and has covered everything from a Little League World Series to the Summer Olympics. He is married to Tracie and they have three children and two grandchildren.
Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeLowePPH.