Week one has happened, and all the build-up led to a brutal 20-7 loss for the Patriots in Miami. I’ve watched the game a few times, and the most important question is why Kendrick Bourne only logged two snaps.
The first drive looked promising, then the tipped drill came with the interception, and it felt like the team fell apart. Unfortunately, my DeVante Parker breakout prediction did not come to fruition. Xavien Howard shadowed and shut him down; with that said, the team needed someone to step up and make an explosive play.
There were numerous third-down plays where the Patriots needed a playmaker to convert the chains. However, Kendrick Bourne wasn’t on the field. He was arguably the most explosive player from last year, and was barely utilized.
Does Matt Patricia Hold A Grudge?
Many Patriots fans would say yes, Patricia does hold a grudge. Think about the Malcolm Butler benching in Super Bowl 52; there was no logical reason for Butler to be on the sidelines. Earlier that week, Butler disagreed with the defensive coordinator at the time (Patricia), which many speculated was the initial reason for the benching. As a result, the Eagles threw the ball all over the field, and the Patriots lost.
Matt is back this time as the offensive coordinator, and it seems like he has another problem with Bourne. Kendrick was on record criticizing the coaching during the off-season, and it looks like someone on the team remembers those comments. No one on the staff would ever admit that this criticism is the reason Bourne isn’t on the field. There is zero legitimate reason for Bourne not to be in all sets. Mac Jones has a connection with him and it was on display on their one target.
There has been some post-game comments saying that Bourne was late to a team meeting before a scrimmage during the joint practices with Carolina. He was sent home that day, so with that combined with the system install criticism is my reasoning to why he was left on the bench. If this is the case all season it could be a firable offense for Patricia (I feel like it already is one).
Bourne Brings Some Of What The Patriots Lack
It was evident on Sunday that the team needs a spark on offense because the players on the field couldn’t get separation nor create meaningful yards after catch. Kendrick Bourne is able to do both of those things especially in a higher leverage situation because he is a gamer. Bourne is also tough enough to want to cross the field to catch the hospital balls. Nelson ran that route and pulled up and it was deflected, they went back to that play right after he caught it and fumbled. In typical years Belichick would’ve benched that player but Agholor was still out there instead of Bourne.
As further evidence of Bourne’s value, he showed his effectiveness and explosiveness the second that he appeared on the field, On his second snap and first target, he made the biggest play of the game for the Patriots, an impressive catch leading to a 41-yard reception. He showed his ability to make a big impact and be a reliable receiver for Mac Jones, with a true catch rate of almost 97 percent in 2021, and in general was someone who Jones could lean on in the big moments and the tough moments.
Even the top of the organization in Robert Kraft has displayed his displeasure for someone that Bill brought in during the spending spree just isn’t playing. It seems like the only person that is okay with Bourne not getting playing time is Matt Patricia. It truly doesn’t make any sense to me that he didn’t play in a game when the Patriots desperately needed a weapon to step up.
The Patriots do not have enough organizational talent to be benching playmakers who disagrees with someone that shouldn’t even be in the role of offensive coordinator. The team was trying to implement the 49ers offense (which Bourne was a part of), during this time Bourne had a few strong suggestions that were ignored by Patricia. This disconnect needs to be fixed if the Patriots are going to go anywhere this season.
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