Patriots Kendrick Bourne speaks candidly about his tough 2022 season

Oct 3, 2021; Foxboro, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (84) celebrates a
Oct 3, 2021; Foxboro, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (84) celebrates a / Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

With the Patriots' last OTAs practice on Friday, we were given a last look at the team before the start of minicamp next week. But one of the more intriguing aspects is hearing what returning players have had to say about this year's offseason compared to last year, whether it be about their struggling performance during the 2022 season or the difference of not working with Matt Patricia.

That's exactly what we got from receiver Kendrick Bourne at the end of practice, who spoke candidly and directly about his down season last year.

The naming of Patricia as the team's offensive coordinator inevitably altered the season overall, but one of the few players seemingly most impacted by his coaching was Bourne, beginning during the summer.

There were rumblings of frustration from the offense early on from players dealing with Patricia, and there was alleged tension between the coach and Bourne stemming from his apparent tardiness at a pre-practice meeting.

This led to the receiver being put in what most referred to as Patricia's doghouse for the entire season, which was frustrating for Bourne as much as it was for the offense. A leading contributor during the previous season, keeping him on the sideline was a disservice to the team and their struggling offense.

Bourne discussed the struggles he endured last year, revealing he didn't give his best effort to the team and hopes to change that as they prepare for the new season.

"I didn’t give the team my best effort. Personally, we as players have to be our best so we can give the team the opportunity to win, and I feel like I didn’t do that. So I’ve been grinding, trying to get bigger, weighing more, just being a more solid receiver and being able to do more. I don’t really go off stats, I go off how I feel, how I look, and I just wasn’t in a good place, now, I just want to avoid that. So it was a good learning process, it was good that it happened to me, and it’s always good to learn from hard times, struggling times."

He went on to praise Bill O'Brien and his knowledge of the game, sharing a much more optimistic outlook than what we heard from him throughout last year.

"Just Bill's familiar with what he's doing so it feels good. You can tell he knows what he's doing in all areas of the offense, from receiver, running back, lineman... He knows offense a lot, so it feels good.

He knows how to engage with all of us I feel like. He knows our traits now and he knows where to puts us so it's been good. We're still learning each other as a group but he's doing well."

The overall shift in attitude from Bourne and the Patriots' offense will inevitably benefit the team's success, as they won't be constantly in a state of frustration and helplessness.

For Bourne specifically, however, he will undoubtedly have a lot to prove to maintain his position on the team.

After completing a noteworthy first season in New England, he followed it up with a forgettable one, putting all the more pressure on him to defy the odds in 2023. But with the proper coaching, an optimistic attitude, and a team feeling whole again, it's hard to imagine we won't see more success from it all.