The New England Patriots entered the season without players who accounted for 89.8 percent of Tom Brady's receptions. They will have to survive the next eight weeks without a player who accounted for 37 percent of their offensive output against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1.
It's a major loss for a revamped offense. Vereen was prepped for a "Joker" role as the most obvious candidate to compensate for the loss of Aaron Hernandez, exploiting mismatches against linebackers and safeties.
With wide receiver Danny Amendola almost certain to be ruled out and tight end Rob Gronkowski "unlikely" to play Thursday night, the Patriots' passing attack will be extremely shorthanded against the New York Jets.
It seems like so much longer than a month ago when Brady had the rebuilt offense clicking on all cylinders in preparation for the preseason schedule.