Kendrick Bourne thankful that Bill Belichick has stuck with him, ready to shine in 2023

FOXBOROUGH – When the smoke cleared from the dumpster fire that was the 2022 offense, Kendrick Bourne was still standing.

Now that the offseason is over and Opening Day is a little over a week away, some may be surprised to see that Bourne is still standing yet again.

From the dog house last year, to numerous trade rumors, to questions galore about the wide receivers, Bourne may actually end up being the most dependable guy and arguably Mac Jones’ favorite target in 2023. Bourne has been one of the few guys in Jones’ career that have proven they can be productive when he puts the ball in their hands – every single time.

Bourne spoke at his locker on Wednesday afternoon, sporting the same wide smile he seemingly has 24/7, acknowledging how thankful he was to still be part of the organization and most importantly, thankful his head coach hasn’t given up on him when so many wanted to.

“I appreciate Bill,” Bourne said when asked about his name coming up in trade rumors throughout the summer. “Bill’s stuck with me. I struggled last year personally and he’s always pushed me to be better. It’s always about getting better, and I feel like Bill encourages me every day, what I can get better on. I appreciate that personally because he could’ve just been like, whatever. But, he’s always pushed me and this year, I want to go my hardest I’ve ever gone. And, it feels good. I’m glad to be here and this is where I’m supposed to be. That’s what’s happened.”

In fairness, no one was going to have a ton of success in the situation the offense was in last season, at least not sustained success. Bourne never really even got a chance to be a dependable guy, but rather was cast as a malcontent of sorts. Now, with Bill O’Brien running the show on offense, Bourne – and everyone else – is excited about their potential.

“Yeah, I think scheme is a big part of it,” said Bourne. “Players, how we feel, what we want to see and how it can make us be better players. We always want to improve. We want to be better as a group every day and I think we’re in that place of knowing we’re improving every day. It feels good to come to work every day and getting better. That makes you want to come back again  and improve even more, strengthen our weaknesses and I think we’re doing that.”

The outside world may not believe in this receiving core, but they do and so does the coaching staff, With Bourne’s infectious energy leading the way, there’s no telling how good they can actually be.

“I think just how we’re gelling as a group,” Bourne added when asked what’s kept the excitement level high for the offense and the receivers in particular. “I feel like Mac is in a great place as the leader and I think that trickles to the whole team. Believing in him, believing in each other and I think we’ll go into the game with a lot of confidence.

“I think we’re (receivers) are doing good. There’s always room to grow and that’s how we need to think every day. Not thinking we’re there. Not thinking somebody we’re not, but just growing every day. Practicing, evaluating ourselves every day honestly. I think we’re in a great place, but always can get better. We need that mindset of how we can be great instead of just good.”