FOXBOROUGH — There’s only so many repetitions to go around, so each player has to make do with what they get.
As the Patriots continue their training camp, heavy attention will be placed on the team’s position battles on the defensive line, the secondary, and even the wide receivers.
But what may appear settled — at least by New England’s standards — is the running backs situation. It’s almost a given that Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen will split duties this upcoming season, with Danny Woodhead working as the team’s third down and no-huddle option. But that doesn’t mean those on the outside of that plan are battling for attention. That’s where Brandon Bolden is working.
The undrafted rookie out of Mississippi is getting his fair share of reps. In practice, he’s shown good speed and burst. At 5-11 and 220 pounds, his size suggests he would be a good downhill runner, although through the first three days of camp, he has shown has the ability to make cuts just as easily as Ridley and Vereen in drills and in seven-on-sevens. At Mississippi, he racked up 3,681 yards and 33 touchdowns over a four-year career by being more than just a bruising back. But he’s had several drops too, which won’t fare well for him.
It’s not just the play on the field that can trip a player like Bolden up — he also has to learn the team’s complicated offense. Digesting the Patriots playbook and carving out a niche on the roster are no easy chores, particularly for the undrafted.
“It’s everything step by step, day by day,” Bolden said. “I mean you just got to take your playbook and just try to eat as much as you can up at one time. Just try and get in there and get in your book and come out and bring it on the field. And just try to get better each and every day.”
As far as Bolden’s reps, he’s taking them all in stride as he gets acclimated to the pro game.
“You get in [and] do what you can,” Bolden said. “You don’t get in, you gotta take mental reps. You know you gotta teach yourself the game and also learn from everybody else on the field.”
So far, the one person Bolden looks like in practice has been the recently departed BenJarvus Green-Ellis, another undrafted player out Mississippi. Same size, same speed, and the same college.
Bolden is hoping for the same outcome, too: a roster spot.