The first day of joint practices between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers got off to a roaring start.
Joint practices can be a real look at how a team matches up against an opponent. They can also get the competitive juices flowing and that can lead to some scuffles.
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That’s exactly what happened on Tuesday, August 16 as Kendrick Bourne was among multiple Patriots players who were kicked out of practice after fighting.
Kristian Wilkerson caught a ball and was near the Panthers’ bench area. Some words were exchanged and a fight broke out. Bourne didn’t hold back and threw punches during the melee. It was also reported that a Panthers coach pushed Wilkerson prior to the fight kicking off
Carolina’s Kenny Robertson was kicked out of practice after the fight along with Wilkerson and Bourne.
Were There More Fights?
The dust-up between the Patriots wide receivers was just the beginning. Soon after offensive lineman James Ferentz and Carolina defensive lineman Phil Hoskins were ejected from the practice for getting in a scrap.
This led the two head coaches to call their teams into a long huddle where they likely told them to stop fighting with one another.
This also isn’t the first time that Patriots have been kicked out of practice during this training camp. Prior to seeing any opponents, Christian Barmore and David Andrews got in a fight.
Barmore talked about the scuffle on Monday, August 15.
“That’s my brother — you know how football is,” Barmore said. “We buddies … that’s my guy. …Just a football thing. That’s my guy, that’s my OG. I learn every day from him. Real good player. It’s love.”
How Has Bourne Performed During Training Camp?
After an impressive 2021 season, Bourne has had a quiet camp.
Last year, Bourne led Patriots receivers in touchdowns (5) and also had 55 receptions for 800 yards. He was one of Mac Jones’ favorite targets and had the best season of his NFL career.
But so far, Bourne hasn’t received a ton of targets at training camp. The wide receiver doesn’t seem too concerned about not receiving as many looks.
“I’m definitely just playing my role, man,” Bourne said. “Not trying to do too much, do too little. Whatever they ask of me, just go do it. If I’ve got to be on the bench, I’ll be on the bench. Whatever it needs to be. Everybody has that role, and once you can play in your role, that helps the team, without crying or being mad about anything. Just waiting for that chance and taking advantage of it.”
This just illustrates the depth that New England has at the position. While DeVante Parker appears to be the top wide receiver, Jakobi Meyers, Tyquan Thornton, and Bourne will all be competing for targets.
While Bourne’s passion might have impressed his teammates, it will be interesting to see if this affects how Bill Belichick uses him this season. Could his usage continue to drop or will Jones start looking his way?