Patriots receiver Kendrick Bourne makes a catch during training camp on Aug. 3. Bourne has struggled in the preseason, but has the confidence of quarterback Mac Jones. Steven Senne/Associated Press

Kendrick Bourne hasn’t had the paint-by-number summer of steady growth that many had hoped for.

In his second season with the Patriots, Bourne has endured a tumultuous training camp. He’s disappeared at long stretches during team drills, seemingly being knocked down the depth chart by DeVante Parker, and last week in Foxborough was one to forget.

With the Panthers in town for joint practices, Bourne was reamed out by Coach Bill Belichick for an equipment issue. Then later in the practice, he was kicked out of practice for throwing punches in a fight, and a day later he was repping with the backups. Then, Bourne was nowhere to be found for Friday night’s preseason game, with Belichick simply saying he “wasn’t available.”

Despite all that, Mac Jones says the veteran receiver is “still positive.” On WEEI’s Merloni, Fauria, and Mego, the Patriots’ quarterback was confident that Bourne’s production would pick up. Jones said it’s just a matter of time.

“I love Kendrick and he’s working hard,” Jones said. “The plays will come. Even last year during camp a little bit he was trying to learn everything and find his role and he didn’t get as many balls. Then the season came and he got a lot of throws. So you never know when your time is going to come. So you’ve just gotta keep working, line up right, and do your route. And eventually they’ll come. You can’t chase plays, like I always say.

“KB is still positive, and we’re just really happy to have him on our team.”


JA’WHAUN BENTLEY dug deep into his thesaurus to talk about the Patriots’ goals on defense.

The 25-year-old linebacker is quickly growing into one of the team’s defensive leaders, entering his fifth season with the team. The 2022 edition of the Patriots’ defense figures to be a leaner version. But it remains to be seen whether it will in fact be meaner as they get quicker and lighter at multiple positions.

So what do the Patriots want to excel at this year? What do they want opposing teams to fear and be thinking about when facing them?

“Everything,” Bentley said after Friday’s preseason game. “I wouldn’t want to sell ourselves short on anything. But as far as our preparation, you would hope as a defense that the offense is considering everything that you do, everything that you pride yourself on, which I would say for us is a plethora of things.” defines a plethora as an “abundance” or “profusion,” which isn’t very helpful in football terms. Fortunately, Bentley elaborated on the defense’s multi-faceted goals.

“Whether it’s running, tackling, good run defense, good pass defense, obviously you want to be perfect in everything but that’s not always the case,” Bentley said.


“So you just look to pride yourself on a lot of good things and make sure you do a lot of great things, well at the end of the day. But as far as an offense views us, I would hope they game plan on everything about us.”

We’ll get another chance to see whether the Patriots’ defense can in fact do a plethora of things well this week in Las Vegas for joint practices with the Raiders.

They’ll then close out their preseason against Vegas on Friday night.

However, the real test for Bentley’s unit will come when they head down to Miami to take on the Dolphins for Week 1 of the regular season.

Until then, it’s time to hit the dictionary to keep up with Patriots linebackers.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.