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New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne during a joint practice with the Green Bay Packers on Aug. 16, 2023, in Ashwaubenon, WI. (Syndication: Green Bay Press-Gazette)

The New England Patriots held an open practice for reporters in Foxboro on Tuesday. They’re getting ready for Friday’s preseason finale against the Tennessee Titans, with final roster cutdowns just a week away.

Here are 11 players that stood out on the field Tuesday, for various reasons…

WR Kendrick Bourne

Aug 19, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (84) catches a pass against Green Bay Packers corner back Rasul Douglas (29) in the first quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay, WI; Aug. 19, 2023: New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (84) catches a pass against Green Bay Packers cornerback Rasul Douglas (29) during a preseason game at Lambeau Field. (Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports)

Bourne made multiple catches in team drills on Tuesday, including one impressive double-snag after the pass was deflected in traffic. It’s safe to say that Bourne, who incredibly enough is the Patriots’ longest-tenured receiver, is stacking days.

The strong practice was a follow-up to a strong preseason debut last Saturday, when he caught 3-of-4 targets from Mac Jones, most notably a 17-yard leaping grab to convert a third-and-8. Jones has seemingly looked to Bourne in the most crucial situations going back to his rookie year. It appears that the connection has been rekindled for 2023.

“I feel good, man,” Bourne told reporters after practice last week. “I feel the best I’ve ever felt, best shape of my life, I feel like. Just able to do more and feel better. That’s the key for me.”

Jun 12, 2023; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (84) runs after making a catch at the Patriots minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne runs after making a catch at 2023 minicamp in Foxboro, MA. (Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports)

Bourne has spoken repeatedly about being happy and healthy. It’s easy to buy in on that, because it’s been translating to the field. We’ll see how highly this Patriots receiver corp performs when the real bullets start flying in Week 1, but there’s no doubt that it’s a confident group that has bought in to the new offense under Bill O’Brien.

There’s been plenty of talk about the Patriots lacking a True No. 1 Receiverâ„¢, and sure, they probably don’t have an All-Pro. But a go-to receiver doesn’t necessarily have to be a perennial All-Pro (Julian Edelman?). Bourne looks like he’s ready to be that guy for Jones. How good will that make the Patriots? We shall see.

  • RB Ezekiel Elliott

    Aug 19, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; New England Patriots running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) reacts during a scuffle before game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Green Bay, Wisconsin; Aug. 19, 2023: New England Patriots running back Ezekiel Elliott reacts during a scuffle before a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. (Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports)

    Elliott makes his debut on the daily practice standouts. He’s starting to get involved in team drills, a possible sign that he’ll see playing time in the preseason. He made one particularly nice catch on a throw slightly behind him from Bailey Zappe. We’re expecting Elliott to (eventually) have an appreciable role in the passing game.

  • WR Kayshon Boutte

    Aug 19, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Kayshoun Boutte (80) gestures after scoring a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at Lambeau Field. Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Aug 19, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Kayshoun Boutte (80) gestures after scoring a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at Lambeau Field. Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    On a day that fellow rookie Demario Douglas was present but didn’t participate in any drills, Boutte showed out. He made a similar catch from Mac Jones in 11-on-11 that resembled his touchdown catch-and-run from Saturday in Green Bay. Boutte is making a real case for the 53-man roster.

  • TE Mike Gesicki

    Aug 3, 2023; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Mike Gesicki (88) makes a catch at training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    New England Patriots tight end Mike Gesicki makes a catch at 2023 training camp in Foxboro. (Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports)

    Gesicki stood out mainly because he was there in the first place, and REALLY stuck out because he wore a red non-contact jersey. He participated in some team drills late in practice, but obviously it was low-intensity for him. His return and participation level is still a promising sign that he’ll be ready for Week 1.

  • QB Bailey Zappe

    GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 19: Bailey Zappe #4 of the New England Patriots throws a pass in the 3rd quarter against the Green Bay Packers during a preseason game at Lambeau Field on August 19, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

    GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – AUGUST 19: Bailey Zappe #4 of the New England Patriots throws a pass in the 3rd quarter against the Green Bay Packers during a preseason game at Lambeau Field on August 19, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

    Zappe made arguably the best throw of the day, a dime to JuJu Smith-Schuster deep down the right sideline. The second-year QB had a meh game against the Packers last weekend and he’s still projected as the clear No. 2 behind Mac Jones, but he deserves a nod for a solid practice.

  • CB Myles Bryant

    Jun 12, 2023; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots cornerback Myles Bryant (27) works out at the Patriots minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    New England Patriots cornerback Myles Bryant works out at 2023 minicamp in Foxboro. (Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports)

    Bryant appeared to get a bump in meaningful reps with the defense during Tuesday’s practice, and he delivered with some solid playmaking. He made a pass breakup and interception against Mac Jones on consecutive plays in 11-on-11. Bryant looks like he’ll be sticking on the 53-man roster again.

  • WR Thyrick Pitts

    Aug 1, 2023; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Thyrick Pitts (13) runs with the ball during training camp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    Aug 1, 2023; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Thyrick Pitts (13) runs with the ball during training camp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    Pitts is a big-time long shot to make the roster, but he made arguably the best catch of the day. He leaped to high-point a deep ball from Zappe, beating rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez. Pitts may not be here much longer, so he deserves a nod for making a nice play while he is.

  • K Chad Ryland

    Aug 10, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots place kicker Chad Ryland (38) kicks the ball to the Houston Texans during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    Aug 10, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots place kicker Chad Ryland (38) kicks the ball to the Houston Texans during the first half at Gillette Stadium. (Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports)

    Ryland lined up for three field goal attempts during a late team period. Here’s how it went: slightly wide left, more wide left, SHANKED left. Ryland did hit a field goal at the end of a no-huddle period, but that was a rough sequence for the rookie. It’s unclear where he and Nick Folk stand in the kicking race, but Ryland didn’t do himself any favors on Tuesday.

  • OL Sidy Sow

    Aug 10, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots guard Sidy Sow (61) lines up against the Houston Texans during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    Foxborough, Massachusetts, Aug. 10, 2023: New England Patriots guard Sidy Sow lines up against the Houston Texans during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. (Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports)

    Sow stood out on Tuesday for one simple reason: he still looks like a big part of the Patriots’ plans on offense. That’s despite a rocky performance last Saturday at right tackle. The team doesn’t have much to turn to right now, with all the injuries, but it’s notable that they’re sticking with Sow for now.

  • OL Bill Murray

    Aug 1, 2023; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots guard Bill Murray (62) works with the tackling sled during training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    New England Patriots guard Bill Murray (62) works with the tackling sled during 2023 training camp in Foxboro. (Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports)

    Murray stood out for the wrong reason on Tuesday: he had to run a lap after committing a false start. That’s not going to win him any starter’s snaps. Murray is borderline at best to make the 53-man roster, but he’ll be a prime candidate to sign to the practice squad.

  • Click here for complete New England Patriots coverage at 985TheSportsHub.com.

    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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