Patriots Wideout Explains One Mac Jones, Jimmy Garoppolo Difference

'It's like a pillow, man'


October 19, 2021

Kendrick Bourne has only been with the Patriots for a few short months, but he’s spent the past several years catching passes from a New England draft pick.

Before joining the Patriots and linking up with rookie quarterback Mac Jones, Bourne played in San Francisco with Jimmy Garoppolo, the 2014 Pats draftee who famously was traded to the 49ers in 2017.

Bourne caught a total of 50 passes from Garoppolo over their three-plus seasons together, and he’s been one of Jones’ top targets this year, ranking third among Patriots pass-catchers in receptions (18), second in receiving yards (282) and second in touchdowns (two) through six games.

During an interview Tuesday with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Zolak & Bertrand,” Bourne was asked how his current and former QBs compare “from a timing perspective (and) a velocity perspective.” His assessment: Garoppolo has a more powerful arm, but Jones throws a more catchable ball.

“That’s a good question, man,” said Bourne, who caught a 75-yard touchdown pass from Jones in Sunday’s overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys. “I would say for the velocity part, Mac, he’s throwing it hard, but when you catch it, it’s like a pillow, man. I would definitely say that. I don?t know. He’s special, man. Jimmy — Jimmy’s got a rifle, and it comes in harder. So that’s the difference, I would say, about the two. Timing-wise, they both are pretty solid. It’s all about pocket, pressure, stuff like that. Velocity is just the most different between them, I would say.

“But Mac, man, I’m just really blessed to be in the situation with him and starting this new era of New England football that, you know, it’s the same, but it’s just new players. I’m just glad to be a part of it, man.”

Bourne is on pace to equal or surpass his career highs in all three receiving categories. Renowned for his positivity, the veteran wideout is bullish on the Patriots’ ability to turn around what has been a disappointing season to this point.

The Cowboys dropped New England to 2-4 on the year and 0-4 at home. Three of its losses have been by fewer than seven points.

“We’ve still got a chance,” Bourne said. “… We have the pieces we need. They’re right there. It’s like a science project we’ve got to get deep down into, and I believe we’re going to find it. It’s all about the players playing their part as best they can.”

The most important of those pieces is Jones, who, while still developing and not immune to first-year mistakes, has been the best of this year’s rookie quarterback crop by a significant margin.

“We are showing a lot of flashes, and I’m just very appreciative of that, because it shows we’ve got potential,” Bourne said. “And if you’ve got potential, the ceiling’s high. … The future’s really bright, as we all can see.”

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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