Patriots receiver Kendrick Bourne, in his second season with the team, remains stuck on the second string. Receivers coach Troy Brown addressed Bourne’s status with reporters on Monday.
“Obviously, he hasn’t had the type of offseason that he had last year, but he’s been working at it just like everybody else,” Brown said, via Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. “He’s coming along, and he’s getting more and more reps as the camp goes on here. As we go into the first game here, he’s getting more and more reps. We’re going to play the guys who deserve to play.”
Bourne is struggling to hold a spot of significance on the depth chart. He’s behind Nelson Agholor, Jakobi Meyers, and DeVante Parker. But for the injury suffered by rookie Tyquan Thornton, Bourne could be at No. 5.
Brown insists the demotion isn’t disciplinary.
“He hasn’t done anything wrong, or bad, or anything like that,” Brown said.
That said, Bourne got the boot from joint practices with the Panthers after fighting, and then he didn’t play in the preseason game against Carolina.
“He wasn’t available,” coach Bill Belichick said at the time.
Brown reiterated the reality that the receiver position remains a meritocracy.
“There’s no named person that’s going to be out there playing more than another person,” Brown said. “It’s just going to be whoever earns the right to go out there and play. They’re going to be the guys who play for us on Sundays.”
That’s how it always goes for the Patriots. Still, more was expected of Bourne for 2022. Last year, he was targeted 70 times in 17 games, with 55 catches, 800 yards, and five touchdowns. He had seven catches for 77 yard and both touchdowns in a 47-17 postseason blowout loss at Buffalo.