It's no secret Bourne had an underwhelming training camp and preseason, and those issues spilled over into the regular season as Bourne was barely involved during the Patriots' 20-7 loss to the Miami Dolphins in Sunday's Week 1 game at Hard Rock Stadium.
Bourne wasn't targeted until late in the fourth quarter with Miami holding a 13-point lead. He hauled in a 41-yard pass from quarterback Mac Jones down the left sideline in what was New England's longest play from scrimmage all day. The drive ended shortly thereafter on a fumble.
Bourne made his displeasure known on the bench.
What's going on here?
"Just waiting for my opportunity. Just waiting for the coaches. Waiting for my moment to go in," Bourne told reporters at his locker after the game.
What have the Patriots told Bourne about his lack of a role?
"Not sure," he said. "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."
How frustrating is the situation?
"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."
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When Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked if there was a particular reason why Bourne didn't play much, he said, "No. It just worked out that way."
Bourne was one of the Patriots' best players last season. He set career highs of 55 receptions, 800 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Bourne was a trusted target for Jones and gave the offense some much-needed swagger.
He absolutely should have a larger role. The Patriots' struggling offense cannot afford to essentially bench one of its best playmakers and expect to score enough points -- not even close.
Bourne needs to play more or be traded. Targeting him only once in garbage time is a complete waste of his talent.