‘It’s been a very competitive situation’: Bill Belichick discusses Kayshon Boutte, wide receiver depth


Boutte hasn’t played in a game since the Patriots’ season opener.

The Patriots have a lot of depth at the receiver postition, leaving Kayshon Boutte on the outside looking in. (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper)
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A training camp full of potential for Patriots rookie Kayshon Boutte hasn’t translated to the regular season.

New England has a deep receiver group in 2023, and Boutte hasn’t been able to crack the lineup since the season opener. That game, he was targeted four times but didn’t record a catch.

Even while the Patriots had JuJu Smith-Schuster and Demario Douglas sidelined with injuries, head coach Bill Belichick didn’t play Boutte. On more than one occasion, New England promoted Jalen Reagor from the practice squad rather than dressing Boutte.

This week, the Patriots reportedly inked a contract with Reagor to keep him on the 53-man roster full-time. That move fueled speculation about Boutte’s spot in the pecking order within the receiver group. In Week 7, Reagor played his most snaps in a game this season (25).

“It’s been a very competitive situation,” Bill Belichick said of the receivers during his press conference Friday. “Everybody’s in it. Obviously, the guys that perform the best play the most. The ones that don’t need to perform better.”

In Week 1, Boutte had the second-most offensive snaps of any New England wide receiver. Kendrick Bourne led the way with 73, followed by Boutte (55), Smith-Schuster (43), and Douglas (33).

Many external factors weighed into that count, though.

The Patriots were thin at the position to start the season. DeVante Parker and Tyquan Thornton were both inactive. Smith-Schuster’s knee injury may have led to less snaps early in the season. That left more reps on the table for Bourne, Douglas, and Boutte.

Availability can sometimes be the best ability, especially for players trying to find a footing in the lineup. Belichick noted that is a factor with Boutte, who was limited in practice last week with a hamstring injury.

“Practice every week. They’re all out there,” Belichick said when asked what Boutte can do to develop and see more action.

Boutte is on the outside looking in now, with six receivers seemingly ahead of him on the depth chart.