Kendrick Bourne gets brutally honest on lack of playing time in Patriots’ Week 1 loss to Dolphins
Kendrick Bourne’s disappearance from the New England Patriots’ offense crossed into Sunday’s season-opening loss against the Miami Dolphins.
New England’s second-leading receiver from a year ago didn’t play until the Patriots’ final drive on Sunday, recording his first snap of the game with less than six minutes remaining. To add more intrigue to the matter, Bourne recorded a 41-yard reception on a deep pass from Mac Jones on his second play of the game.
Bourne also appeared to show some expression to the perceived benching through Sunday’s game, pointing an index finger to the sky after getting called back to the sideline ahead of each Patriots offensive possession. The Patriots receiver didn’t really have an explanation as to why he was on the bench.
“Just waiting for my opportunity,” Bourne said following Sunday’s game. “Just waiting for the coaches. Waiting for my moment to go in.”
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick didn’t have much of an explanation for Bourne’s situation, either.
“No, it just worked out that way,” Belichick said when asked why Bourne didn’t play much. He also denied that Bourne’s lack of playing time wasn’t a disciplinary matter.
It appears Bourne’s received a similar message from the coaching staff.
“Not sure,” Bourne said when asked if he’s been given a reason for his diminished playing time. “I play my role, so whatever I got to do, just waiting for that moment. I don’t really know. Just waiting on the opportunity.”
"Playing my role… just waiting on the opportunity."
— NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Coverage (@NBCSPatriots) September 11, 2022
To make matters worse, Bourne was on the bench while the Patriots’ offense struggled for the entirety of Sunday’s game. They finished with just seven points and Jones suffered a back injury and threw for just 213 yards in the loss.
A year ago, Bourne set career-highs across the board, recording 55 receptions for 800 yards and five touchdowns. In what many people thought would be a breakout season for the receiver, Bourne’s spent the beginning of it on the bench. He recognized how frustrating it was.
“It’s tough,” Bourne said. “Just keeping my mind in it, though, knowing my teammates are capable. It’s not about me at all. Just waiting for my opportunity. That’s all I can say.”
Belichick didn’t really share any regret in playing Bourne very few snaps on Sunday either when asked if he wished the receiver played more. “We did what we thought was best,” he said.
The Patriots could certainly use Kendrick Bourne’s talent in their upcoming matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh’s defense dominated the Cincinnati Bengals in its season-opening win on Sunday, forcing five turnovers and recording seven sacks in the 23-20 win.