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
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.”
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 Receiver™, 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.