MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne won’t point to anything specific when asked for the reasoning behind his decrease in playing time.
Bourne, who didn’t earn his first offensive snap Sunday until late in the fourth quarter of the Patriots’ loss to the Dolphins, said he’s “not sure” why his role has changed. According to Bourne, there was not a specific incident that caused the shift, one that became apparent midway training camp.
“Just not giving the coaches what they want or what they need to see,” Bourne said. “Just need to get better on my part.”
After a breakout season last year, in which he recorded a career-high 55 receptions for 800 yards and five touchdowns, Bourne was expected to play an important role in the passing attack. But the lowlights have instead taken center stage.
During a joint practice with the Carolina Panthers, Bourne was among the players ejected for fighting. He then practiced with the backups before being inactive for the team’s second preseason game. Belichick did not provide an explanation for Bourne’s absence at the time, and reiterated Sunday that Bourne’s dip in playing time is not disciplinary.
“It just worked out that way,” he said.
Bourne emphasized he is “waiting for his opportunity.” He made good use of his limited action, catching a 42-yard pass before returning to the sideline.
The receiver room is competitive, with Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor, and DeVante Parker all vying for targets.
“It’s tough,” Bourne said. “Just keeping my mind in it, though, just knowing my teammates are capable. It’s not about me. It’s not my part. It’s not about me at all. Just waiting for my opportunity.”