December 4, 2023


“The subsequent man has to step up and fill that function and it’ll in all probability be a number of guys. I don’t know who these guys can be proper now.”

Kendrick Bourne. Matthew J. Lee/Globe Employees
  • The Deutsche Bank Park is illuminated.

    Chiefs and Patriots compete for followers and affect in Germany forward of video games in Frankfurt

Half of what’s going to make Kendrick Bourne’s absence troublesome for the Patriots is the vitality and the “juice” that he delivered to the offense, offensive coordinator Invoice O’Brien stated Tuesday.

Bourne was New England’s most constant receiver this season, main the staff in targets, catches, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. By eight video games, his numbers in these classes are similar to — and in some instances higher than — those he put up in 16 video games final season.

On Sunday, an ACL tear introduced Bourne’s season to an abrupt finish. O’Brien stated it would take a couple of participant to fill Bourne’s spot.

“I’ve solely been round him for the seven or eight months I’ve been right here,” O’Brien stated. “He’s an excellent man and he was having a very good yr. The subsequent man has to step up and fill that function and it’ll in all probability be a number of guys. I don’t know who these guys can be proper now.”

Demario Douglas, a 5-foot-8-inch 192-pound rookie, has been New England’s most efficient receiver outdoors of Bourne. The speedy slot receiver posted profession highs in catches (5) and targets (7) in opposition to Miami Sunday.

All the Patriots’ receivers besides Bourne and Douglas are averaging fewer than 30 yards per recreation.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, who had 933 yards final yr as a member of the Chiefs, has struggled this season. His 26 targets have resulted in 15 catches for 89 yards and one landing. He started Sunday’s recreation on the bench after lacking the earlier two video games with a concussion.

DeVante Parker, whose longest reception this season is 22 yards, left Sunday’s recreation with a head damage. Tyquan Thornton, who started the season on injured reserve, has two catches for eight yards since returning. Kayshon Boutte has not performed for the reason that opener in opposition to Philadelphia.

The Patriots signed Jalen Reagor, a former first-round choose by the Eagles whom Invoice Belichick praised for his work on the apply squad, to the 53-man roster final week.

O’Brien stated it’s an vital week for the receivers because the Patriots attempt to decide who will get extra snaps with Bourne out.

“It comes all the way down to the apply subject,” O’Brien stated. “It actually does, like, how do you apply? Are you able to go by the point Saturday or Sunday rolls round? Then Invoice will decide who’s energetic for the sport. That’s actually how it’s. And so, it’s an enormous week for the receivers.”

Inquiring thoughts

Towards the Dolphins Sunday, defensive again Marte Mapu made his first look since Oct. 1. Mapu has eight tackles in 4 video games, however safeties coach Brian Belichick stated he’s happy with what he’s been seeing from the rookie by way of improvement.

“I believe Te has performed nice as a younger participant and coming from a smaller college,” Belichick stated. “He has a wonderful mindset, much like [Kyle Dugger] when he got here in. You already know, considerably comparable state of affairs. They’re each very open-minded and wanting to be taught and sensible and interested in methods they will get higher. They need to be taught as a lot as they will and so they’re each very versatile gamers.”

Belichick stated Mapu has proven a pair of attributes that he likes to see in younger gamers — versatility and the flexibility to grasp the ideas the staff makes use of.

“He’s doing that and studying effectively,” Belichick stated. “He asks numerous good questions and is constructing as a younger participant does. We need to hold that course of going and each time he’s on the market, I’m excited to see what he does.”

Spacing it out

O’Brien recognized spacing between receivers as one of many points that contributed to the offense’s struggles Sunday.

He pointed to the primary third down of the sport for example. Mac Jones accomplished a 4-yard cross to Hunter Henry, however it was effectively wanting the 12 they wanted to realize a primary down. O’Brien stated he has to do a greater job of teaching and designing the performs, and the gamers should do a greater job executing them.

“I take possession of that; I’ve received to teach that higher,” O’Brien stated. “That was a 3rd and 12 in opposition to Miami with an excellent cross rush and we weren’t spaced correctly there, so now we have to do a greater job. 

“The gamers should personal their a part of that. I’ve to personal my a part of that. We’ve received to get that stuff corrected, however yeah there have been spacing points and it’s got to enhance.”

The Patriots scored 17 factors Sunday, which was barely above their season common of 14.8. Nonetheless, it was a step again from their 29-point efficiency in opposition to Buffalo the week earlier than. Little issues reminiscent of spacing points can add up rapidly.

“I say this each week, however there’s such a small margin for error within the Nationwide Soccer League,” O’Brien stated. “It comes all the way down to 5 or 6 performs in every section of the sport. In case you don’t make them, you’re not going to win, and we’re not making them proper now. We’ve to get again to creating them like we did in opposition to Buffalo.”