Since the start of the Patriots’ training camp this month, there has been a lot of talk regarding the offense as a whole, but one player, in particular, has gone under the radar within those discussions.
Kendrick Bourne has been mysteriously quiet throughout practices thus far and it’s unclear as to why. His first season with New England last year was by far the best season of his career, as he quickly became one of Mac Jones’ favorite targets. But there’s been a drastic change over the past couple of weeks with little explanation as to why.
Through the first 12 practices, Bourne wasn’t involved much in any of the offensive team drills. There were days when he didn’t have a ball thrown his way at all.
One of the under-the-radar surprises of Patriots camp is how quiet Kendrick Bourne has been. Per my charting, here's his catch/target totals from competitive team drills (11s and 7s) in each camp practice. pic.twitter.com/NH6KEzUTqw — Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) August 15, 2022
Fast forward to last week’s joint practices with the Panthers, Bourne became one of the highlights but not for good reason.
The Patriots and Panthers players were feisty all week, getting into brawls during their practice days together. During their Tuesday practice, Bourne got involved in one of those fights after fellow receiver, Kristian Wilkerson, had been knocked out by a Panthers’ defender.
This led to his ejection from practice, along with a few other players that day.
The following day, Bourne then began practice with the backup offense rather than the starters.
Kendrick Bourne is working with the backup offense today. He had a rough practice yesterday before being ejected. Feels like there’s a message being sent. — Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 17, 2022
Later in the day, he would rejoin the starters. But it’s apparent that Belichick was making a point with his decision.
Why didn’t Bourne play against the Panthers?
Given the history of Bill Belichick and how he handles these types of situations with his players, it’s fair to assume that Bourne was punished for his behavior on Tuesday by not allowing to participate in the game.
It wouldn’t be the first time Belichick has given a player repercussions for their actions, and it likely won’t be the last.
Belichick didn’t elaborate on the situation when asked about his absence during his post-game press conference.
Why didn’t Kendrick Bourne suit up tonight? Belichick: “He wasn’t available.” — Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) August 20, 2022
Should there be concern about his roster status?
To put this simply, the answer is no.
Rumors began circulating online claiming Bourne was on the trade block. But given how successful his first year with the team was, that seems unlikely. Despite his quiet camp, it’s not vastly different than how he looked during last year’s training camp. And it’s clear what he is capable of on the field with Mac Jones.
Plus, news broke of rookie Tyquan Thornton suffering an injury during Friday’s game, with Mike Giardi reporting he will miss around 8 weeks of play. That makes Bourne’s position on the team that much more important, as Thornton was likely to take the field this season.
This upcoming week will hopefully provide more answers, but this is likely a scenario that has been blown up by fans and the media. Bourne’s position with the team appears to be fine and he will help lead the offense to more success this season.