Some Patriots fans may not want to hear it, but Kendrick Bourne's words after the Patriots' latest loss are the exact mindset the team needs to overcome their continued struggles and continue the season.
It was another rough outing for New England in Week 6 against the Raiders, facing a lot of pressure to bring a win home and get back on the track needed for an improved season. Although they played better than they have over the last two weeks, too many mistakes were made, and big plays were given up, leading to another loss.
The offense wasn't able to click again, and penalties created more inopportune moments than any team would like. On top of that, a devastating drop by DeVante Parker for a potentially game-winning touchdown and a phantom holding call on Hunter Henry negating a 74-yard receiving score by Ezekiel Elliott put the offense in a hole they weren't able to get out of.
The one silver lining, though, was Mac Jones' improvement of ball security. Despite his one terribly thrown interception, that was his only turnover of the game. Maybe that's grasping at straws to find something good, but considering his carelessness with the football in recent weeks, limiting it to just one interception was a major win.
Another notable improvement was Bourne's increase in involvement. The repeated boost needed for the offense was the leading receiver for Jones on Sunday, recording 10/11 receptions for 89 yards. He quickly became the most reliable player on the field for the quarterback, much like he had been in his first season in New England.
That's partly why Bourne's post-game comments are even more important. When asked about the team's morale as they fell to a 1-5 record, he revealed his optimistic viewpoint that he believes the rest of the team shares.
"I think we’re all right, man. It’s a good test for us. It’s up to us to look ourselves in the mirror and see who we are individually and what we are going to bring every day. Are we just going to quit and come in to work to just work? Or are we going to come to work to really work and put in effort so we can change this thing around? If we get guys coming in like that, I think it will change."
It may not mean much to a subset of Patriots fans who want the team to tank to ensure a higher draft pick, but it's not fun to watch a team that has completely checked out of the season. Bourne seemingly ensures that will not be the case, and the team remains close despite the odds stacked against them.
Given the other options, it's admirable that they are able to maintain this type of mindset. Over the years, players have signed with the Patriots because they are a historically known franchise for winning. Now that the opposite appears to occur far more often, it would be easy for players to become complacent and hostile, spreading pessimism like the plague.
An optimistic mentality may not translate to the field, but it does a lot for overall morale and togetherness, regardless of the win/loss record.