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Why Bill Belichick is ‘really excited’ to see this Patriots play WR in 2023

Why Bill Belichick is ‘really excited’ to see this Patriots WR game in 2023 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The New England Patriots will need at least one of their veteran wide receivers to feature throughout the 2023 NFL season and make a consistently strong impact each week.

Jakobi Meyers was the Patriots most reliable wideout in recent years, but he took his talents to the Las Vegas Raiders as a free agent in March.

There are a few intriguing candidates in the group, including Kendrick Bourne, DeVante Parker and JuJu Smith-Schuster. The player with the best chance of a great season is Bourne.

The 28-year-old wideout had a solid debut season with the Patriots in 2021 as he racked up 55 receptions for 800 yards and five touchdowns. He didn’t produce much last season—35 receptions for 434 yards and one touchdown—but his role and effort on Matt Patricia’s offense was also surprisingly lackluster.

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The Patriots are expecting a recovery campaign from Bourne in 2023, and his head coach is very much looking forward to seeing it all happen.

“I’m really excited to see him play this year,” Bill Belichick told WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” Monday morning. “He’s done the job and it looks like he’s definitely ready to go.”

What did Belichick like about Bourne during the off-season and training camp? Actually quite a few things.

“He has been healthy, he has been on the field, he has worked hard. He has become very consistent in running routes, commands, anticipation and catching the ball,” said Belichick. “He had a really good spring and a really good training camp.”

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Bourne looked great in camp and he made the most of his pre-season reps. His role is expected to be much more prominent now that new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is in charge.

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The veteran wideout is also entering the final year of his contract, so there’s the added motivation to show off his talents in hopes of getting a raise next season.

Bourne said last week he appreciated Belichick staying with him amid his difficulties last season, and it sounds like he’s ready to repay his coach with a fantastic 2023.

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