Kendrick Bourne has Carved Himself a Role in the 49ers Offense
Jose Luis Sanchez III
Training camp held a bit of mystery for wide receiver Kendrick Bourne.
With limited spots at the position - Bourne was a bubble player entering the final cuts. Injuries to Jalen Hurd and Trent Taylor made it an easy decision to retain Bourne’s services. That decision would soon feel regretful with his first half of the season. It was quite a mess to say the least with his drops at the forefront.
There was no worse performance from him than week 10 where he dropped the ball multiple times in crucial situations. However, since that error filled game Bourne has stepped up in a major way.
He has done so well that he has carved a role for himself in the 49ers offense.
All the drops that were ruining his performances are now a thing of the past (knock on wood). With his hands being consistent, it is easy to see why he has been involved so much. Bourne isn’t the fastest receiver, but he does have sound route running. It’s why Jimmy Garoppolo was able to hit him twice in the end zone against the Saints.
“KB, he finds the space.” Garoppolo on his redzone connections with Bourne. “He’s a good, instinctive player who if the initial play isn’t there or a little off-schedule, he has no problem working. He puts his hands up, you know, all those little things that you do when the play breaks down. He’s phenomenal at it.”
It is clear that Garoppolo trusts him despite a bulk of the season filled with mistakes for him. Following the loss to the Seahawks in week 10, Garoppolo blamed himself for why Bourne and other recievers had dropped passes - citing that he needs to deliver a better ball.
Of course, Garoppolo wasn’t going to place blame on anyone other than himself, but it is clear that his trust for Bourne has never wavered. Even Kyle Shanahan has shown that same trust in him. Bourne is now apart of a three man receiver set with Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel. With all of that talent in front of him, along with George Kittle, he is able to feast on lesser defenders.
“He’s trying his hardest, he’s trying to go out there.” Shanahan on the growth of Bourne. “He really loves to play football. I think you guys can see how he plays and sometimes I think that can get taken the wrong way in terms of he’s not locked in and detailed on it, and he is. He works at it all week”
It must’ve been a shock for some people watching the game on Sunday to see Bourne come in the clutch for not one, but two touchdowns. Well now there is clarity on why he was able to. It is the mindset and attitude that he carries himself with. Bourne is able to feel free in high pressured games, yet manage to remain locked in.
That is why Shanahan never went away from Bourne. Even with his drops he would still send him out for some looks. Bourne is repaying Shanahan and Garoppolo for their trust in him. He’ll look to continue to repay it as the San Francisco 49ers look to clinch a first-round bye.