he New England Patriots were victorious against the Carolina Panthers in their second preseason game of 2022 but suffered a crucial loss on their roster.
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Tyquan Thornton is reported to have a collarbone injury according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and while it won’t be an end to Thornton’s season, he will miss some time.
The Patriots drafted Thornton in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft and hype was building around the wide receiver. In New England’s first preseason game against the New York Giants, Thornton caught his first professional touchdown.
Bourne Doesn’t Dress
Bourne did not dress for the Patriots preseason game. When asked about his absence, head coach Bill Belichick simply said that Bourne wasn’t available.
Belichick was also asked about Bourne’s participation in next week’s joint practices in Las Vegas and the coach seems to believe Bourne will be back.
“I expect probably all of our players to be available this week with maybe the exception of Wilkerson,” Belichick said. “We’ll see what happens, unless somebody walks in here with something today, but I think we should be pretty close with everybody. Hopefully. We’ll see how it goes.”
Bourne was a key contributor for New England last season. He led Patriots receivers in touchdowns (5) and also had 55 receptions for 800 yards.
The Patriots held joint practices with the Panthers this past week and the practices were a bloodbath. There were multiple fights and Bourne was involved in one where he was throwing punches and was kicked out of practice. A day later, Bourne was working with the second stringers.
How Will the Patriots Roster Be Affected by Bourne and Thornton?
With Thornton slated to miss some significant time and Bourne being benched, the roster could look a lot different than expected. Some players who seemed poised to be cut or on the practice squad might now have a chance to make the final 53-man roster.
The Patriots had a deep group of wide receivers with Thornton healthy. New England acquired DeVante Parker who will lead the way and also still has Jakobi Meyers who led the Patriots in receiving yards in 2021 (866).
New England also has Nelson Agholor who once seemed like a piece of trade bait but is building chemistry with Mac Jones. Against the Panthers on Friday night, Agholor and Jones connected on a deep ball that was arguably the best play of the night for the starters.
While Bourne didn’t dress, the fact that Thornton will be out for some time will give him a second chance to get back under Belichick’s good graces. While it quickly seemed like Bourne’s status on the roster was in question, with Saturday’s news it will be difficult for New England to move on from him.
With Thornton out, Lil’Jordan Humphrey or Tre Nixon will have a real chance to make the final roster. Humphrey had a solid performance against the Panthers, including a great effort to help pin the Panthers deep on a punt that surely impressed Belichick.
So Thornton’s injury will have ripple effects on the Patriots 2022 season and Bourne might just have the injury to thank for ensuring that his struggles didn’t knock him out of New England.