The New England PatriotsKendrick Bourne is as tough as they come at the wide receiver position.
What he doesn’t have in straight-line speed, he makes up for with his route-running and physicality after he catches the ball. He doesn’t go down easy. He’s broken 5 tackles this season after receptions and he’s averaging 7 yards after the catch.

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Kendrick Bourne Says He’s Done With Spin Moves

Stats aside, Bourne has decided to make a tweak to the way he plays in the name of self preservation. Bourne recently tweeted: “I ain’t spinning no more” and attached the video of a helmet-to-helmet hit he took from Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Jamir Jones.

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Believe it or not, Jones wasn’t flagged for this hit that clearly resulted in helmet-to-helmet contact. Bourne wasn’t badly injured. However, the spin he used in an attempt to escape the initial tackler led him directly into the blow from Jones.

The Patriots and Bourne were fortunate the hit didn’t result in him leaving the game or missing any games. In fact, Bourne went on to have one of his most productive games of the season with 5 receptions for 76 yards.

That total included this 46-yard catch and run after he took the hit from Jones:

 


Bourne Has Been One of the Patriots’ Best Signings

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell put together an All-Underrated Team and included Bourne.

“Another member of the All-Underrated Team, Bourne represents the best value from New England’s offseason spending spree at receiver,” Barnwell wrote. “I don’t doubt that quarterback Mac Jones has been helped by all the veterans — and tight end Hunter Henry has nine touchdowns — but Henry, Jonnu Smith and Nelson Agholor have a combined average annual value of $36 million on their deals and have 1,261 total yards this season. Bourne’s three-year, $15-million deal, on the other hand, has been a bargain.”

Bourne has been one of the Patriots’ most dependable receiver. He is second to Jakobi Meyers in receptions with 52, but he is only 20 yards behind him receiving yards. His 75-yard TD reception against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6 is the team’s longest play from scrimmage all season.

“The former 49ers wideout has been the poor man’s Deebo Samuel, racking up 776 receiving yards while adding a quietly impressive 117 rushing yards on 11 carries,” says Barnwell. “He doesn’t have Samuel’s ability to make an impact as a traditional running back, but when you’re averaging 11.8 yards per target, you’re doing something right. His mark there leads the league, just ahead of the guy with 11.6 yards per target in second place … Samuel. In a league in which signing a successful free-agent wide receiver is virtually impossible, Bourne has been the exception to the rule.”

The Patriots still need a field-stretching burner or a big receiver who can win jump balls consistently. The latter role was supposed to be filled by N’Keal Harry, but he’s instead turned into a crack blocker in the run game. He was a healthy inactive for the team’s 50-10 Week 17 rout of the Jaguars that saw his replacement Kristian Wilkerson catch 2 TD passes.

Nelson Agholor was supposed to be the deep threat, but he’s been mostly disappointing this season with just 36 receptions for 450 yards, 3 TDs and his longest reception has been 44 yards.

Meanwhile, Meyers and Bourne just keep plugging away in the middle of the field providing Jones with the sort of dependable pass-catching options that have made the rookie quarterback’s transition to the pro game a bit smoother.

Will Bourne’s hard-nosed style allow him to stop spinning? We’ll have to see, but let’s hope he stays healthy no matter how he tries to break his next tackle.

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