Kendrick Bourne has no problem saying what many following the New England Patriots thought in 2022.
After offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left the team in January 2022 to become the Las Vegas Raiders' head coach, Bill Belichick made the puzzling decision to give senior football advisor Matt Patricia offensive play-calling duties, despite the fact that Patricia had never called offensive plays at the NFL level and spent six seasons as New England's defensive coordinator earlier in his coaching career.
The results were predictable: The Patriots' offense mustered just 314.6 yards per game in 2022 (26th in the NFL) and was plagued by dysfunction as the team sputtered to an 8-9 record.
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Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne was particularly impacted by the switch from McDaniels to Patricia: After racking up a career-high 800 receiving yards in 2021, he mustered just 434 yards in 2022 and publicly voiced his frustration with the offense during the season.
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Joining 98.5 The Sports Hub's Zolak & Bertrand from Super Bowl Radio Row on Friday, Bourne shared a blunt review of Belichick's decision to let Patricia run the offensive show.
"It was rough," Bourne said. "Even the media world and the (rest of the) world was looking at it too, like 'What's going on?' And we had the same questions too, like, 'Why?'
"For me personally, I kind of fell victim to the situation too, asking why instead of focusing on myself getting better. I struggled in 2022, man. So, I came back 2023 going hard because (of the) circumstances, man, and I became a better player from the situation. But it was just a questionable decision, as we all know."
Bourne got off to a strong start in 2023 under offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien before a torn ACL ended his season after eight games. He's set to hit free agency in March but told our Tom E. Curran he would love to re-sign with the Patriots and work with new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, who could implement a West Coast-style offense that Bourne found success in earlier in his career with the San Francisco 49ers.
In any case, Bourne knows Van Pelt will be an upgrade from Patricia.
"Hopefully these next few years -- the new OC I think is a good fit too," Bourne said of Van Pelt. "I don't know who he is, but I think it's different in bringing a West Coast-type vibe, so we'll see how that goes. But it was a crazy choice."
Patriots players have endured plenty of turmoil over the past two seasons, and this offseason has brought monumental change with Jerod Mayo replacing Belichick at head coach and bringing in a host of new assistant coaches. If some of Bourne's teammates share his opinion, though, it sounds like that change is welcomed.
Check out Bourne's full interview below to hear him share his impressions of personnel chief Eliot Wolf, who he wants to be the Patriots' starting quarterback in 2024 and more.