Some news and notes for this morning:
Bourne Hears the Trade Talk
While the players may talk about “ignoring the noise,” it certainly sounds like New England Patriots receiver Kendrick Bourne is aware of what’s being discussed here locally, especially as it may pertain to his future.
With the trade deadline approaching, Bourne’s name has been the one continually speculated as a trade option for the Patriots. With the uncertain future of Bill Belichick and the current direction of the season, many believe the Patriots may end up becoming sellers ahead of the deadline.
The only question is who they may opt to deal, and what they might be able to get in exchange for those players.
Bourne knows his name has been mentioned, and he’s hoping he sticks around. Still, he knows that may be out of his hands.
“It’ll definitely be in my mind,” said Bourne on Wednesday. “But, [I’m] just being ready for whatever, man. I want to be here. I’d love to be here. But if there are other plans, then it is what it is.”
“But just focusing every day on what I’ve got to do and the task at hand. I think I’m in a good place. Whatever happens, happens.”
Bourne then abruptly ended his press conference after that question and walked off.
Despite the fact he was smiling and putting up a good front, that sort of tells you he probably wasn’t pleased with being asked the question, or the uncertainty he currently finds himself in.
Moving Bourne Creates a Big Void
Other than Bourne, the Patriots’ options on offense are already pretty limited.
If he’s dealt, they’d be forced to finish the year with DeVante Parker, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Demario Douglas, Tyquan Thornton, Kayshon Boutte, and Jaylen Reagor.
That would be tough to imagine. For a guy who only recently started getting involved in the offense, Bourne already has 28 catches for 307 yards and two touchdowns. That total leads all other Patriots receivers by a considerable margin.
Meanwhile, Smith-Schuster and Parker have combined for 27 catches for 222 yards and zero touchdowns so far in 2023.
Hunter Henry is actually second on the club in both receptions and receiving yards behind Bourne with 18 catches for 183 yards and two touchdowns, followed by Rhamondre Stevenson (17 catches, 111 yards) and Mike Gesicki (15 catches, 144 yards).
Both Bourne and Henry are at the end of their current deals, which, under normal circumstances, they would potentially be two players the club should extend.
While they’re both getting up there, they’re still two guys who are on the right side of 30, with at least another 2-years where this team could certainly benefit from having them around.
They’re each both players who the club can continue building around as examples of the type of guys they’re looking for, especially as they hopefully start tweaking the roster on that side of the football.
Whether or not that happens is clearly the big question, and what transpires these next two weeks will likely play a big part in that.
What Will the Patriots Do With Mac Jones?
Obviously, what happens at quarterback will also likely play a role there.
The two each have a good relationship with Mac Jones, (Henry’s currently Jones’ neighbor), but the quarterback’s future is certainly murky at best given his rough start.
From there, the coaches seem to have their minds made up on Bailey Zappe, while Malik Cunningham appears to be the current guy on an upward trajectory.
Will Grier remains the other wild card and very little is known about what he’s done in this offense, or what success he’s had, if any, while working with any of these guys.
Jones was asked about his own future on Wednesday, with the third-year quarterback saying he’s just focusing on what he needs to do in the coming weeks.
“I’m not focused on that right now. Honestly, just really focusing on coming together as a team during tough times,” said Jones when asked if he was concerned about potentially being traded. “Seeing how we respond, seeing how I respond, and definitely excited for the challenge and looking at it in the eyes and taking it head-on.”
This is certainly a big game for the Patriots, who could absolutely make a statement with a win at home against the Bills. Improving to 2-5 would be a significant step in the right direction, especially against a team that has beaten them in four of their last five meetings.
Even better, if they could somehow upset the Dolphins in Miami next week, that might allow them to build a significant amount of momentum with match-ups against Washington and a trip to Germany against Indianapolis left to follow ahead of the bye week.
For now, it looks like, barring another meltdown, it will be Jones who will be the one under center for those match-ups. Whether or not he’s up for the challenge is anyone’s guess, but if he falters, it will be interesting to see if the club does eventually make a change or even potentially move on from him before we get to November.
Another Long Injury List
The team put out its first injury report of the week, and there remains some concerning names on there.
The notable ones were Trent Brown (Chest), Hunter Henry (ankle), and Jonathan Jones (Knee), with all three players not participating in Wednesday’s session.
Jones had been previously dealing with an ankle injury, and it appears he tweaked his knee this past weekend. If he can’t go on Sunday, that would put New England’s defense in tough shape as Jones is one of their faster corners.
The Bills obviously have speedy receivers Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis, and the idea of Myles Bryant being anywhere near those two should absolutely have people concerned.
Jack Jones, who has been out all season with a hamstring injury, was designated for return this week and he’s been listed as “limited.” However, given his posts on social media, he seems like he’s been chomping at the bit to get back out there and could possibly give them a lift this weekend.
Meanwhile, Reiff’s absence hurts their offensive line depth, while White ending up in concussion protocol last Sunday certainly impacts their pass rush as well as their run defense. He had been coming on as of late, and to not have him for this week would be difficult, especially since Josh Uche (Knee/Foot) also sat out Wednesday and his status appears to be in question.
Rhamondre Stevenson was also limited with an “ankle” injruy. His status will also be one worth watching given that New England really needs all hands on deck on offense this weekend.
Here’s the full rundown per the team’s official release:
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
OT Trent Brown, Chest
TE Hunter Henry, Ankle
CB Jonathan Jones, Knee
OL Riley Reiff, Knee
LB Josh Uche, Knee/Foot
DL Keion White, Concussion
C David Andrews, Ankle
DL Christian Barmore, Knee
DB Cody Davis, Knee
WR Demario Douglas, Concussion
S Kyle Dugger, Foot
DL Trey Flowers, Foot
DL Davon Godchaux, Ankle
DB Jack Jones, Hamstring
OL Mike Onwenu, Ankle
DB Jabrill Peppers, Knee
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Concussion
RB Rhamondre Stevenson, Ankle
G Cole Strange, Knee
CB Shaun Wade, Shoulder
Posted Under: Patriots News