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The Patriots had a rough start, opening 2-4. They then won seven straight games — only to finish 1-3 in the final four games. That might bother players. That might lead to diminished confidence. Bourne, however, sees the bright side of the rough patches in their 2021 season.
“I love kinda how we had that up-and-down journey. It shows us what we need to improve on, what we needed to fix, what is our emphasis, our weaknesses,” Bourne said during a videoconference call on Thursday. “We all know our strengths. We all know our weaknesses. We all know each other.”
Bourne has turned heads with the Patriots with receivers coach Troy Brown expressing surprise at Bourne’s ability to make big plays, particularly after the catch. Bourne has 55 catches, 800 receiving yards and five touchdowns, all career-highs for the 26-year-old. It’s clear New England has nestled him comfortably into their offense.
The Patriots have taken a close look at themselves — as they do with self-scouting every year — and they seem to have learned enough about each other to hold their teammates accountable. That’s why, when one teammate is yelling at another, it’s actually a sign of something positive.
“When one another come at each other on our team, it’s all understood. There’s no hard feelings on our team. I think that’s the biggest thing. When Mac (Jones) can come yell at me and I stay the same, that’s key. I’m not offended. It’s nothing personal. It’s about me doing my job so the team can succeed,” Bourne said. “I think we’ve all grown together to get to this point. So to get to this point and make the playoffs in our first year together, it’s like, ‘Wow, what can’t we do?'”
Bourne added: “I feel like we have a really good chance. I feel like we can compete with anyone.”
New England will match up against Buffalo in the wild-card round of the playoffs, with an 8:25 p.m. kickoff on Saturday.