The Green Bay Packers continue searching for answers in the passing game — answers that just got harder to find as two of their top receivers are now question marks due to injury.
Both Sammy Watkins and Christian Watson appeared on Green Bay’s latest injury report with hamstring issues. Both were limited participants in practice on Wednesday, per the Packers’ official website. They were joined on that list by wideouts Allen Lazard (ankle) and Randall Cobb (illness), as well as tight end Marcedes Lewis (groin).
To say the team was short-handed in the passing game before half of its pass catchers sustained injuries was probably an understatement. The lackluster offensive performances across Green Bay’s first two games and the questions of availability surrounding several meaningful players argues for the Packers acting sooner than later to add help for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
While many in Packer Nation would probably prefer a household name with a track record of success, the franchise is in no position to get cute with its roster as a matchup with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looms just a few days away.
If Green Bay wants to be aggressive, there are options on the trade market, including a couple of pass catchers currently rostered with Brady’s former team, the New England Patriots. One such player is wide receiver Kendrick Bourne.
Bourne Guards Against Drops That Have Plagued Packers’ Receivers
Bourne is a six-year veteran of the NFL, playing his first four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and the last two as a member of the Patriots.
Across his professional tenure, Bourne has appeared in 77 games and earned 18 starts, per Pro Football Reference. He has amassed 2,626 yards on 195 catches, including 16 touchdowns. He produced a career year with the Pats in 2021, pulling down 55 receptions for 800 yards and five touchdowns.
Despite his performance last season, New England has used Bourne only sparingly to start 2022. His lack of usage indicates a stronger likelihood that the Patriots would be willing to part with the receiver via a trade.
Packers Leaning Heavily on RBs Jones, Dillon in Passing Game
Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report on Wednesday laid out a case for the Packers’ pursuit of Bourne now two games into the regular season.
Sammy Watkins currently leads the team in receiving with 111 yards. [Running backs] Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are the second and fourth receiving leaders, respectively. Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson have had encouraging moments, but the room could still use an injection of talent.
For whatever reason, Bill Belichick and the revamped offensive staff in New England have decided not to feature Kendrick Bourne in their offense.
The 27-year-old … has seen just four targets through two games this year. He’s caught three of them for 57 yards, but the coaching staff seemingly has other priorities. He would see a much bigger role in the Green Bay offense right now.
Bourne quickly became a favorite of [Patriots QB] Mac Jones last season. He generated a passer rating of 132.1 when targeted and could quickly earn Rodgers’ trust, as he only had two drops all of last season.