Denver Broncos left tackle Garett Bolles was called for four holding penalties during Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Bears. Throw in an additional holding penalty from the team’s season opener in Oakland and Bolles has racked up five holding penalties in the first two weeks of the season.
No other player in the NFL has been called for more than three holding penalties over that span.
“It’s frustrating,” Bolles said after Sunday’s game. “I’ve built a reputation for myself in this league of holding. I disagree with it to be honest. There’s some calls I disagree with. There’s some things I understand I’ve got to go back and watch the film and see what I can do, but I have the best O-line coach in the National Football League with coach Munchak. I’m grateful for him. I know he’s going to get me on the right path, just believes in me.
“I know my teammates believe in me. I know my coaches believe in me. I know the front office believes in me. I’m going to turn this around. I promise you all that. I promise Bronco country that. I promise my teammates that. It’s just unfortunate they keep coming after me but it is what it is. Like I said, I disagree with some of them and I’ve got to move forward and get back to work on Monday.”
While those around him may very well still believe in him, it’s clear their patience to see that belief pay off is starting to wane. Several voices from the Broncos – at all different levels of the organization – said Bolles needs to figure it out.
Head coach Vic Fangio: “I think he suffers from thinking he’s in good position sometimes and dumps the guy at the end where he thinks it’s a legal block. We have to do a better job of explaining that to him. He’s got to do a better job of listening to the explaining, but I think he can.”
General Manager John Elway: “Well, he’s got to understand why. I think that’s the most important thing. That’s the thing that we discussed is for him to understand exactly why. You’ve got to get yourself in better position and play better technique so you don’t hold.”
That Bolles thinks he is being singled out and that the calls against him aren’t valid makes it difficult to see an acceptance that what he’s been doing isn’t correct. Perhaps that’s why several different entities from the Broncos felt a need to speak about his need to improve his play in recent days. Now it’s time to see if the message is getting through and if Bolles is capable of adapting his game as necessary.
“I’ve talked to him; everybody is trying to talk to him,” Sanders said “We’ll see.”