RB Bolden goes from phenom to bubble

RB Bolden goes from phenom to bubble
August 15, 2013, 9:00 pm
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FOXBORO – The Patriots flavor of the week from October 1 to October 7 of 2012?
Brandon Bolden. A 22-year-old rookie who’d carried seven times for 15 yards in the Patriots first three games last year, he looked like Jim Nance (not the “Hello, friends…” version, the Patriots Hall of Famer) against the Bills when he went for 137 yards on 16 carries.
From that day through the rest of the year, though, Bolden ran for 122 yards. Other flavors of the week have emerged.
This week, it’s LeGarrette Blount, he of the 51-yard gallop and two touchdowns in the Patriots preseason opener.
And now Brandon Bolden is a bubble boy. A core special teams player, Bolden had a special teams mishap last week when he was called for running into the kicker on an Eagles punt that extended a drive. Meanwhile, the presence of Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and Leon Washington and the emergence of Blount have the likable Bolden circled as a “maybe” for the final roster.
“Everybody just wants to do whatever they have to do to make the team and you put in everything you can and hope for the best,” Bolden said Thursday after the Patriots final practice before playing Tampa on Friday night.
Asked if he knew how much he’d play against the Bucs, Bolden said he had “no clue” but he is – obviously – optimistic.
“It’s not anxiousness [to get on the field] but you do want that opportunity and want to be ready for it,” he explained.
Last week’s penalty? “I take full responsibility for that,” said Bolden. Came upfield, got pushed, I should have got out of his way. The referees did what they had to do. I ran into him so it’s roughing the kicker.”
It wasn’t a great play, but neither should it be a deal-breaker for Bolden. He is, frankly, too good to cast aside for a preseason penalty. Or even 10.
When asked what he’s improved heading into this season, Bolden said, Just my all-around game. Receiving, running pass protection, pass routes, everything.”
There is absolutely no doubt Bolden will be cashing an NFL paycheck in 2013. Whether he’ll do so with the suddenly running-back rich Patriots? He certainly doesn’t know.  
“You’d have to ask Bill,” said Bolden. “I just go out there and do what they ask me to do.”