Will Patriots finally give Kayshon Boutte meaningful reps vs. Commanders? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
He received four targets in that season-opening matchup, including a pass on a fourth-and-11 play with 29 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Boutte hauled in the football but only got one foot inbounds. If he was able to get both feet down, the Patriots would have had a first down and a chance to upset the Eagles.
Boutte has not seen the field since Week 1, but it's possible he gets another opportunity Sunday when the Patriots host the Washington Commanders at Gillette Stadium.
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In fact, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said at his press conference Friday that this was probably Boutte's "best week" of practice.
What is Belichick looking for from Boutte?
"Performance, consistency, assignments, production – practice is practice, but there are opportunities out there for everybody," Belichick said. "You either take advantage of them or don’t take advantage of them."
Boutte's usage, or lack thereof, has been an interesting storyline. He was once a highly touted prospect at LSU, but an ankle injury and a less-than-stellar final season with the Tigers caused his draft stock to plummet, and he fell to the Patriots in the sixth round in 2023.
Boutte showed flashes of playmaker ability during training camp and the preseason. But the Patriots have not called his number outside of Week 1. Instead, they are giving reps to underperforming veterans such as JuJu Smith-Schuster and DeVante Parker. Even practice squad signing Jalen Reagor, a 2020 first-round bust, was activated to the 53-man roster for last week's game against the Miami Dolphins.
With Kendrick Bourne on injured reserve because of a torn ACL, it makes sense to give Boutte a chance. The Patriots desperately need speed and skill at wide receiver. We know what Smith-Schuster and Parker can be at this point in their careers. We don't know much about Boutte. He has talent and potential, now he just needs a real chance to show it.
The Patriots are 2-6. Making the playoffs is not a realistic goal. Identifying players who can help the team in the long-term should be a priority. This means giving more snaps to young players like Boutte, Tyquan Thornton and Demario Douglas.