Perry: Pats not happy with Trent Brown's effort in Panthers practices

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A pair of offensive starters didn't play in the New England Patriots' preseason game against the Carolina Panthers last Friday, and it doesn't sound like their absences were injury-related.

Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne had a rough week of joint practices with the Panthers and was ejected from the Tuesday session for fighting, so head coach Bill Belichick may have been sending a message by holding Bourne out of Friday's game.

But starting left tackle Trent Brown also didn't see the field Friday -- and our Phil Perry reports that Brown's absence was likely for disciplinary reasons, as well.

Patriots Talk: Patriots' offense sputters in Las Vegas | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"That's what it sounds like to me, is a benching," Perry told host Tom E. Curran on a new episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast. "(Brown) didn't play in that preseason game, and my understanding since then is that the team was not happy with his effort level during the week against the Panthers.

"That's what I've come to learn, and they let him know that. I don't know if that led directly to him not playing, but put one and one together. Kendrick Bourne also missed that preseason game. Feels more disciplinary in nature."

The Patriots' offensive line has struggled as a unit for much of training camp as the team installs a new offense with a new de facto play-caller in Matt Patricia. But while growing pains can be expected, effort can be controlled, and it appears the Patriots wanted to make it clear to Brown that he needs to increase his intensity level in practice.

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Both Brown and Bourne are in Las Vegas this week for joint practices with the Raiders, and Bourne hauled in a touchdown pass to end a two-minute drill Tuesday, so hopefully the team's motivational tactics worked for their two veteran starters.

Considering the state of the Patriots' work-in-progress offense, they'll need all of their offensive players on the same page and giving full effort ahead of the Sept. 11 season opener against the Miami Dolphins.

Check out Tuesday's full episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on YouTube below.

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