Patriots Gameday: Kendrick Bourne is the classic Bill Belichick wide receiver

New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Don’t look now, but the New England Patriots have found another gem in wide receiver Kendrick Bourne.

Signed to a three-yar, $22.5 million deal in the offseason, the former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver is living up to the bill and then some this season. Through the first 11 games of the season, Bourne has hauled in 42 receptions for 623 yards and 5 touchdowns. He has also showed off his versatility by throwing for a touchdown and has caught opposing defenses off guard with his rush attempts.

In other words, Bourne has been explosive for the Patriots this season and it’s a success that can’t be considered a surprise because the fifth-year receiver is exactly the type of playmaker who flourishes under Bill Belichick.

Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne thriving under Bill Belichick

And speaking of Belichick, you may look at his resume of drafting wide receivers and say “no way,” but when you look at players such as the late David Patten, David Givens, Brandon LaFell, Brandon Lloyd, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and now Bourne, the Patriots have a proven tendency of utilizing their skillset to fit within the offensive scheme and quarterback’s strength.

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So, while Belichick is not exactly known for developing wide receivers, he can be known for getting the best out of them, as recent evidence proves with Kendrick Bourne.

"“When I first got here … I was kind of running the ball my way, my technique of doing just how I’ve grown up playing,” Bourne said, as transcribed by the Boston Herald. “And then Bill kind of like, he showed me techniques that I’ve never been taught before, and this is how I know Bill is special. He just puts us through certain drills that show us how to run with the ball, and I really emphasize working on those drills when I’m doing them, how to simulate game-like reality. The more I did it at practice, the more I run better with the ball. What happens at practice just happens in the game.”"

With the belief that he could still get even better, Bourne has been establishing himself as a valid playmaker in the New England Patriots offense, emphasized by plays like this:

And then plays like this:

The latter is obvious proof of what Bourne can do after the catch and in the open field. Not only has be become a favorite target of Mac Jones, but he is also thriving from the guidance of a coach known more for his defensive genius.

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In all, Bourne is the classic Bill Belichick wide receiver because of his willingness to do whatever it takes for the offense to be productive. That includes transforming and transcending his individual talent on a game-to-game basis. Looks like Belichick and the Patriots have found another one.