FOXBORO - Shane Vereen played all of 26 snaps in 2011.
The rookie second-rounder out of Cal hurt his hamstring during training camp and the bus, in essence, left without him.
Now, with BenJarvus Green-Ellis in Cincinnati and Kevin Faulk likely done, Vereen figures to scale the depth chart.
He's been running with the starters quite a bit in the training sessions open to the media. And while first-team reps in June don't necessarily translate into a starting role in September, the 23-year-old Vereen figures to get the ball more than 26 times in 2012.
"It's good to have some structure this offseason instead of last year with the lockout," Vereen said Tuesday as the Patriots' three-day mini-camp began. "It's much more efficient. Off the field, you're able to take the time and learn the playbook. In the weight room, you're able to do the program that they have for us."
The biggest difference, said Vereen, is feeling at home.
"(I'm) feeling a lot more comfortable but it will still take time and I have a lot to work on," Vereen explained. "Just overall confidence is the main thing. The more you hear it, the more you're in the offense the more confident you become with what your responsibility is."
So how does he foresee his workload shaping up come September.
"That's a great question," Vereen said with a smile. "I'm just going to keep working each and every day."
Football is coming.
The Patriots announced on Thursday that veterans will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 26 and that the first public practice will take place the following day.
Each of the team's first four practices -- from July 27-30 -- are scheduled to take place on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium "in the nine o'clock hour," according to the Patriots. Updates to the training camp schedule, including more specific start times for practices, can be found at patriots.com/trainingcamp.
The Patriots Hall of Fame will hold its induction ceremony for former corner Raymond Clayborn on Saturday, July 29 around midday following that morning's training camp practice. Held on the plaza outside the Hall at Patriot Place, the ceremony will be free and open to the public.
The Patriots will host the Jaguars for two days of joint practices open to the public on Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8. The preseason opener for both clubs will take place at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 10.
Tom Brady's off-the-field workout habits are the subject of serious curiosity for those in New England and beyond. Thanks to Under Armour's Instagram account, followers got a brief glimpse of what Brady does to stay in shape.
OK. It was more like a glimpse at what he did one day in Tokyo.
The video of Brady in the dohyo ring was shot at the Sakaigawa sumo stable in Tokyo on Thursday. According to Kyodo News, leading the training session was ozeki Goeido, who won last year's Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.
"For them to welcome me means very much to me. It's hard to describe in words how special that was," Brady said.
Brady bounced around China before heading to Japan to continue to help promote Under Armour and in particular its "recovery sleepwear" line. He threw a pass on the Great Wall, and he explained that it was his "dream" to play a game on the continent.