The New England Patriots expected more from newly acquired WR DeVante Parker than what they received in the Week 1 loss to his former team, the Miami Dolphins.
In Parker’s first regular season with the Patriots, who traded away a 2023 third-round pick to the Dolphins for the receiver and a 2022 fifth-rounder, the 29-year-old made little to no impact on the game.
Parker had just one reception for 9 yards in the 20-7 defeat. Parker was blanketed by his talented former teammate Xavien Howard and essentially removed from the game as a viable option.
After such a low statistical output, several media members questioned Parker’s lack of impact. The Patriots had a similar contributor continuing to do what the Patriots brought Parker to Foxboro to accomplish.
The Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan called Parker out while praising his teammate.
“Meyers not only led the Patriots in catches — predictable with Parker disappearing on Xavien Howard island — but blocked exceedingly well,” Callahan wrote. “He even erased two Dolphins on Agholor’s 17-yard screen in the first half.”
No one is expecting Parker to morph into Julio Jones, but there was the thought that the receiver could at least make himself a factor in the game. Unfortunately, that never happened and now New England has to find the fix in Pittsburgh
New England Patriots Top WR? Jakobi Meyers
Parker took the No. 1 jersey when N’Keal Harry was dealt to the Chicago Bears. Parker didn’t just inherit a high-profile jersey; he also seems to have walked right into the expectations that Harry found impossible to live up to while in Foxboro.
With Parker struggling to find himself, the Patriots turned to veteran wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. After leading the Patriots in receiving yards in 2020 and 2021, Meyers is off to another solid start. Meyers only had 4 receptions for 55 yards, but that was more than enough to be the Patriots’ top pass-catcher.
It appears the Patriots are still trying to find a more physically gifted, but whenever their attempts fall short, they have to scramble to find that element that is missing from the offense.
What Happened to Kendrick Bourne?
In 2021, Meyers led the team in receptions and yards. Tight end Hunter Henry led the Patriots in TD receptions, but an argument could be made that Kendrick Bourne was the most explosive playmaker amongst New England’s pass-catchers.
With the team in desperate need of a spark offensively, where was Bourne? The answer is on the sidelines for most of the game. The 25-year-old wasn’t hurt. He was facing a demotion that appears to be rooted in him showing up late to a meeting during training camp and not seeing eye-to-eye with Patriots play-caller Matt Patricia, per NBC Sports’ Tom E. Curran.
Bourne played a grand total of two snaps the entire game, but he did haul in a 41-yard completion on one of those plays. Bourne’s splash of success made Patricia look foolish as many wondered if the game’s result had been different if Bourne had played more often.
We’ll never know, but if Parker continues to disappear, the Patriots will have to lean on Bourne even more.