Bolden making an early impression

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Bolden making an early impression

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."

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Solder, Blount, Harmon take part in Patriots on-the-field work

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Solder, Blount, Harmon take part in Patriots on-the-field work

The Patriots had a handful of veterans who missed spring practices back on the field Monday.

The team's website posted video of a training camp "sneak preview," featuring clips from a practice held three days before the official start of camp. In the video were shown offensive tackle Nate Solder, running back LeGarrette Blount and safety Duron Harmon getting in some work after all three were absent from OTA practices open to the media. 

Solder suffered a biceps injury last season that landed him on season-ending injured reserve, which helped throw the Patriots protection in front of Tom Brady into a state of flux for much of the remainder of the season. Should Solder be able to participate in camp practices, as it appears will be the case, the team will have a stabilizing presence on the left side of the line as it prepares for the regular season.

Blount also landed on IR last season after having suffered a hip injury late in the year. He hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent this offseason and eventually signed a one-year deal to remain in New England. If healthy, Blount figures to have the edge in claiming the "big back" role that he's filled for the Patriots at different points over the course of the last three seasons.

Harmon sported a red non-contact jersey during Monday's workout, indicating that he may still need some time before he's ready for any kind of tackling drills this summer. The fourth-year safety explained earlier this month that he was "ready to go" for camp after "just trying to clean up some things physically" during the spring.