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Perry: Bourne changes tune about offense after hearing from Patriots

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Kendrick Bourne

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Kendrick Bourne wasn't looking to make headlines again late Monday night.

After the Patriots lost to the Bills last week, he filled reporter notebooks with his commentary on his team's offense. He said in plain terms that the staff needed to scheme things up better on third down. He wasn't shy discussing how a more attacking game plan would've yielded better results.

Not surprisingly, he heard from his bosses following those comments, he told me after Monday's win over the Cardinals.

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"Of course," he said. "I just gotta be careful with the things I say. Just emotions, too. Just saying how I feel and being careful ... [Coaches] understand. I love this team. I'm riding to the end. I just want to win. That's all it is.

"That's from the heart. I don't mind, even if I'm on the bench, whatever. I just want to be there for my teammates. That's the heart I have. It's not about me. I just hate that it looks like that sometimes, but I think my guys know where my heart is."

Asked if he felt as though he and his coaches were "in a good place," Bourne said they were.

"I always think we are," he said. "Football is football. It's hard. We want to grow. You have to have tough conversations. You have to do tough things. Coaches have to yell at players. Players have to tell them how they feel. Things like that. It's so we can grow. It's all to grow. It's not to point anybody out. We're in a good place, man. That's where I'm at."


Despite commentary that might've been deemed worthy of a playing-time decrease, Bourne was busy on Monday Night Football. He tied for the team lead with five catches for 47 yards, including a critical 15-yard diving catch along the sidelines on a third-and-five snap at the end of the third quarter that helped lead to a Patriots touchdown.

With Jakobi Meyers (concussion) inactive going into the game and DeVante Parker (concussion) having to leave in the third quarter, Bourne (42 snaps), Nelson Agholor (57) and Tyquan Thornton (52) played large percentages of the game. And it looked like Bourne picked up some of Meyers' responsibilities in the running game.

On a 14-yard touchdown run from rookie Kevin Harris, and on a 44-yard scamper by rookie Pierre Strong, Bourne sealed off hard-hitting Cardinals safety Budda Baker to help make those plays successful.

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"Just doing what we're asked to do," he said. "Kobi does a great job of [blocking]. We practice it, man. We all know what we're supposed to do. Blocking is a want-to thing. What you do without the ball says a lot about your character and who you are.

"It's not always going to be perfect, but when it's at the point of attack like that, it's a must get. Budda's a Pro Bowl player. If we don't get him, nine out of 10 times he'll get the tackle. Just good scheme by us today -- very good scheme -- and it all played out into our hands. It was good."

Bourne wasn't shy about lobbing credit toward his coaches and their plan inside the visitor's locker room at State Farm Stadium. Even though the Patriots passing game was among the shortest-throwing attacks in football in Week 14, and even though Mac Jones threw a career-high 12 screens, Bourne said he was encouraged that -- in his mind -- the offense was a little more aggressive in Arizona.

"I feel like we were attacking the defense more, attacking the scheme more," he explained. "Hunter [Henry] had some big catches down the field. It's all about playing smart. I think the coaches are doing a great job of being conservative but getting down the field at the same time.

"We gotta play smart. I think we're doing a good job of that. Not turning the ball over. Only one turnover today? Yeah. Just trying to take care of the ball is the biggest thing. When you take care of the ball and you've got a defense like we got, I think we'll be all right."


He added: "I think our coaches did a great job this week. We just want to improve. It doesn't matter what we say or what they say, it's just about improving and I feel like we did that this week. It's good to lose sometimes, man. You find out what you need to work on. That's the biggest thing, seeing the things we worked on applied and getting a win this week."