Bolden making an early impression

Bolden making an early impression
July 31, 2012, 5:53 pm
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FOXBORO -- With two practice fields stacked with nearly 90 players, a staff of coaches and support staff and myriad drills, it's hard to have your eyes on all of it at once.

Sometimes, you catch a glimpse of something as it starts to unfold and watch for a second. Often, you can identify the player based on what he does or how he moves if he's been around long enough. You don't even need to see the jersey number.

Other times, you see a player flash, look at the jersey number and realize you don't have immediate recall of his game. That's what it's been like with undrafted rookie Brandon Bolden.

The Ole Miss running back hasn't dominated camp but he runs, catches, blocks and moves in a completely NFL appropriate manner. So far, he looks like he belongs.

"He seems like he's done a decent job in the areas we've asked him to work in," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Tuesday. "Special teams, he can catch the ball, has some skill in the passing game. Had some production in the running game in college. We've only seen that in drills but based on college it looks like he can run the ball. Pretty smart guy, can catch, play in the kicking game. Like all the rookies he's made plenty of mistakes but he's definitely made progress."

This being a day on which Belichick was in a curt mood, those words were the equivalent of an ode to excellence.

Bolden is definitely in a position where he can make the 53-man roster out of camp. If the team keeps four running backs, that would mean it's Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead and Bolden. At least at this early juncture.

Belichick signaled that things will grow tougher this week, though.

"By the end of this week, we'll see how everybody's holding up," he predicted. "Then once we get closer to the Saints week (August 7-9) then our install will be closer to the top. It will just keep piling up. Some guys may be able to handle that. Other guys may get a little . . . congested. We'll see how it goes."