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New England Patriots

New England Patriots

  • A number of the Patriots’ coaching decisions from their season-opening 20-7 loss to the Dolphins will be revisited in the coming days, but one that stands out was the lack of usage of wide receiver Kendrick Bourne. Bourne was one of the Patriots’ top pass catchers last year (55 catches for 500 yards and five touchdowns), but played just two snaps in Week 1 – both late in the game.

    Bourne’s two snaps came during a crucial sequence late in the game. He made his debut with, just under six minutes to go, and caught a deep pass up the sideline for a 41-yard gain on his second play. Bourne was then pulled out of the game by the coaching staff, and two plays later the Patriots fumbled the ball away on what was their final offensive play of the game.

  • This all comes after Bourne saw his reps shrink late this summer. After getting thrown out of practice for fighting in joint practices with the Carolina Panthers, he started repping with the second-team offense. He didn’t dress for that preseason game, and didn’t really see his workload increase again before the end of camp. Still, at the time it was reported that issue wasn’t seen as a “serious matter” and that the team was turning down trade requests for Bourne.

    After the game, Bill Belichick was asked if there was a specific reason Bourne didn’t play the majority of the game. “No, it just worked out that way,” he told reporters. On a follow up question, Belichick said the benching was not disciplinary.

    Bourne was asked after the game if he’s heard from the coaching staff why he’s playing less. “Not sure. Just playing my role. Whatever I’ve got to do – just waiting for that moment,” he replied. “I don’t really know, just waiting for that opportunity.”

  • Asked if there had been any new developments since the end of camp, Bourne replied “[I’m] just not giving the coaches what they want, what they need to see. I just need to get better on my part.”

    “It’s tough. Just keeping my mind in it though, knowing my teammates are capable,” Bourne said about not playing. “It’s not about me, it’s not about me at all. Just waiting for the opportunity, that’s all I can really say.”

    With Mac Jones dealing with a potential injury, the Patriots passing game could need all the pop it can get next week against the Steelers. Bourne is the Patriots’ most explosive receiver, so his status is one to keep an eye on heading into that game.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.

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