Garett Bolles Explains What he Did to Turn his Career Around & Play at an Elite Level

KeithCummings

Even the most critical sections of Broncos Country are coming around to the stellar play of much-maligned left tackle Garett Bolles this season. The Denver Broncos' fourth-year offensive tackle is passing the eye tests with flying colors so far. 

Such rudimentary systems of evaluation have been reinforced by advanced analytics sites like Pro Football Focus, who have given the tackle a 88.9 player grade through the first five games, which is the third-highest in the NFL and the best in the AFC. Most tellingly, Bolles is yet to give up a sack and has only drawn two penalty flags.

When GM John Elway decided against offering a fifth-year option to the 28-year-old tackle, many predicted this would be Bolles' last season in the Mile High City. Perhaps only the player and his position coach Mike Munchak saw things differently as Bolles headed into the pandemic-affected offseason. 

Bolles embraced virtual learning, polishing his technique, and added additional muscle to his 299-pound frame. On Thursday, Bolles charted out the road map that has led to him making giant strides this season and talked about the special bond he has with Munchak.

“Me and Munch have a special relationship. We meet one on one before every single game. We meet throughout the week. He understands how I feel in my demeanor to be the best and he’s just really helped me stay on track. Like I said in my quote—you all know it—it doesn’t matter how you start, it matters how you finish. That’s really how it is."

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Bolles struggled through his first three seasons to find the right headspace that would allow him to capitalize on his obvious physical talents. Now in his second year under the tutelage of Munchak, the former Utah standout is finally turning into the first-round player the Broncos had always hoped for.

“The difference is just my mental game and the time that I put in this offseason. I put in a lot of effort," Bolles said. "When this whole COVID thing hit... I pushed myself extremely hard. I did the little things by taking extra sets and watching film to know where my hand placements are—doing a lot of hand drills. Mostly just the mental side. I spent a lot of time this offseason on the mental aspect. I had the physical aspect. I had the tools to take care of the technique. It was just all mental. If your mind is not right, then you can’t play this game.”

Bolles has been on the receiving end of harsh criticism from Broncos fans in the recent past, so turning that chorus of boos into genuine applause and admiration seemed unlikely but it is pleasing to see. If anything, the critics are now rounding on Elway for a lack of faith and foresight in the man he drafted in round one back in 2017. 

Indeed it could end up costing the Broncos a lot more to secure Bolles' services should the team try to re-sign the tackle this coming offseason. In a contract year, Bolles is concentrating on shutting out all the outside noise and distractions that money talk can bring.

“I’m going to be honest,” Bolles said. “I really don’t pay any attention to it at all. I’m here to play football.” 

Bolles' hard work and dedication have paid off. Now he and the team are in position to reap the rewards. 

"I started off rocky, and I’ll be the first one to admit it, but where I’m at it’s never too late to turn things around," Bolles said. "I’m a true believer in that and that’s what I’ve done and I’m going to continue to ride this wave for as long as I can.”

Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL and @MileHighHuddle.

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Comments (9)
No. 1-8
Luke  Patterson
Luke Patterson

I'm very happy for Bolles' success in 2020. He was public enemy number one in Broncos Country last year. There's no doubt he's improved and has been consistent. However, I need to see more games before crowning him as an elite LT. A handful of good games doesn't erase the last couple of years. Broncos can't afford to get burned in missing on any more players, or letting them walk. Time will tell. Nice work as always Keith.

Wyobronco
Wyobronco

I am extremely happy for him. His story illustrates perfectly the lack of patience, knowledge, and intelligence many Broncos fans have.

broncobuckeyenomad
broncobuckeyenomad

Bolles is gonna get paid and it ought to be in Denver.

BeGoodBroncos
BeGoodBroncos

So they can still tag him. Think it's 3-4 mil more than if they picked up the option. I wonder if they can't get a deal done , if they should do a tag and trade ? Might get a 2 ? for him ?

Broncosforlife
Broncosforlife

I think Lock’s quick release has more to do with it. You put back any the previous Broncos quarterback back in the huddle and you would see the yellow flags flying his way again.

DKMI
DKMI

Even when he was getting penalties, they weren’t moving him or replacing him. That tells that they had no one else who could block as consistently as him. Left tackle is a very important position. It’s the QB’s blind side. They take on the opponent’s best pass rusher. Bolles got better prior to covid. Analytics had him among the top linemen down the stretch last season. Big miss on Elway’s part to not pick up his option.

I get people’s frustration with the penalties. I screamed at him too. But by the time Lock came in to start, Bolles was on the upswing. If PFF saw it, so should the Broncos.

S. Wojciehowicz
S. Wojciehowicz

I agree it does take much of a mental aspect to grasp most NFL jobs and not just athleticism. Based on that, I do wonder how playing in semi empty stadiums might play into effect and how he would handle the boo birds and games on the road.

KeithCummings
KeithCummings

I think Elway may have to pony up significantly.


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