Kendrick Bourne's limited role vs. Dolphins caught Robert Kraft's attention

·3 min read

Curran: Kendrick Bourne's lack of role isn't going unnoticed by Kraft originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Back in the spring, Jeff Howe from The Athletic got some time with Robert Kraft. Here’s what the Patriots owner told Howe about what kind of second-year leap the team could expect from Mac Jones.

"Time will tell. Part of it, in fairness, is the chemistry of the people around him. I hope that some of the free agents who we brought in who didn’t perform as high as we would have liked last year will (produce) this year because they’ve adjusted to the system. And we’re making changes to take advantage of what they do best. We have a lot of talent that hasn’t been tapped into yet in my opinion."

Robert Kraft was at the game Sunday in Miami. I don’t think he saw much tapping.

Perry: Kendrick Bourne 'clearly frustrated' with playing time

Jonnu Smith didn’t make a catch until late in the third. Kendrick Bourne didn’t make one until the final drive -- a 41-yarder -- on one of the only two plays he was on the field for.

My understanding is that Kraft definitely noticed Bourne was left in mothballs all day. And he noticed what happened when he finally got on the field. I don’t know if a Bourne ultimatum has been issued, but I’ll bet he’ll have a far bigger role going forward.

Between Bourne, Smith and Nelson Agholor, Kraft doled out $90M in contracts. And they’re taking up almost $30M in cap space this season.

Matt Patricia had better figure out a way to use them. Bourne especially. My understanding is that Bourne’s usage is a Patricia decision. Whether it’s scheme-related, Bourne-related or Patricia just not liking the way Bourne is doing his business, sources tell me he and Bourne haven’t exactly jelled.

Be that as it may. He caught 55 balls for 800 yards last year and pulled in 79 percent of the stuff Mac Jones threw him. He had two drops. Short of Bourne being a card-carrying pain in the ass -- and I haven’t heard he is from anyone -- go along to get along and get him the ball.

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Bill Belichick will tell you the Patriots don’t target anyone. They just throw to the open guy. Yeah, OK. Fine.

Then Patricia either needs to change that MO or scheme some stuff to get it to players like Bourne and Smith who both delivered when they finally did see the ball.

Understand this, the aforementioned contract numbers wouldn’t matter if the Patriots were putting up more than seven points.

But they didn’t on Sunday. And their second-half possessions ended repeatedly with throws into heavy traffic. There was one to Jakobi Meyers on a third-and-6, then Hunter Henry on a fourth-and-3 and a 28-yard heave on fourth-and-1 to DeVante Parker that got broken up. The Patriots caught a break there when officials caught a defensive hold during the route.

None of those plays felt like inspired designs in gotta-have-it moments and Mac was left just flinging.

This is the most overall talent the Patriots have had at the skill positions since 2016. It doesn’t need to look like that. They shouldn’t be scoring one touchdown. And they definitely shouldn’t be mothballing anybody who can help them.

Editor's Note: Tune into Quick Slants on NBC Sports Boston tonight at 6 p.m. ET to hear more insight from Curran on Kendrick Bourne's situation. Special guest Kay Adams will join the show as well.