Patriots

Bolden buttoned up at Friday rookie camp

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Bolden buttoned up at Friday rookie camp

FOXBORO -- Friday was the first day of school for freshmen.
Rookie mini camp.
It's accurate to say all six who were made available -- from undrafted free agent Brandon Bolden to Alabama first-rounder Dont'a Hightower -- were nervous. It's also fair to say Bolden may have been more nervous than most.
"Glad to be here," Bolden said, standing before his first career reporter hoard. Over the next six minutes he worked up a brilliant sweat under the lights.
Bolden was projected as a fifth to sixth round pick, in no small part because of character and maturity concerns. The cause for concern, however, is unclear.
In 2011, the Ole Miss captain was suspended for one of the biggest games of the year, a tilt with Nick Saban's Crimson Tide, for infracting team rules. But there aren't other strikes to write conclusively about.
Not that you can't ask if you're interested.
"Come investigate it," Bolden challenged. "Just watch me. I really don't have an answer for 'em."
So compounding the nervousness was a slight edge. The running back was loath to open up, to say the wrong thing.
"Pretty sure it was pretty much like everybody else's," Bolden said of the draft weekend. "There wasn't anything special about my experience -- just sitting by the phone. There was Really was no kind of stellar emotion, it was just a sigh of relief that it was over."
Relief? To go undrafted?
"Just that the entire draft process was over. Getting drafted, going undrafted it really didn't matter. I just wanted to play football."
If you think he'd ease up in context of the game, well, you'd be wrong. Bolden's path has been compared to that of former Patriot BenJarvus Green-Ellis' for several reasons: they're running backs, both went to Ole Miss, both went undrafted, both ended up in New England.
But Bolden isn't interested in the parallel. Understandable, since he hasn't played a snap in the NFL.
"Ben was at Ole Miss the four years before I was there; he was walking out the door as I was coming in. He's a great guy, a great running back. I watched a lot of film on him.
"Honestly, I haven't paid much attention to it. Ben did what he did because that's what Ben does. And I'm coming in trying to make it as he did."
Their styles are considered similar. Though Green-Ellis' ball security is basically irreplaceable -- zero career fumbles in both college and the pros -- Bolden has, according to Pro Football Weekly, good hands. He's also a fluid, "effective inside runner" with "nice vision and good feet in tight corners."
Today beings the process of unfurling it all on the field. Bolden doesn't have to give reporters two full sentences for the rest of the season (and he might not, per New England's usual rookie treatment), but where he doesn't have to tell, he must show.
"There's a lot of young guys and everybody's trying to prove the same point. Why not throw my two cents in as well? I'm just here to make them better, to push them as well as they're going to push me.
"That's why I'm here to try and figure out what I need to do. They're going to evaluate me just like they're going to do everybody else. Just try. Just try my hardest, that's all I can do."

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Wentz tosses 4 TDs, Eagles beat Redskins, 34-24

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MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Wentz tosses 4 TDs, Eagles beat Redskins, 34-24

PHILADELPHIA - Carson Wentz tossed four touchdown passes, and the Philadelphia Eagles overcame losing nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters in a 34-24 win over the Washington Redskins on Monday night.

Wentz threw for 268 yards and ran for a career-best 63 after a shaky start to lead the NFL-best Eagles (6-1) to their fifth straight win. But the victory was costly because Peters was carted off the field with a knee injury in the third quarter.

Kirk Cousins had 303 yards passing and three TDs for the Redskins (3-3).

The Eagles went three-and-out three times in their first four drives and had only 57 total yards before Wentz hit Mack Hollins in stride with a perfect 64-yard TD pass to tie it at 10.

That got the offense rolling.

Wentz connected with Zach Ertz for 46 yards on the next series and found him again for a 4-yard TD pass to make it 17-10.

After getting the second-half kickoff, the Eagles drove 86 yards for another touchdown. Peters was injured during the series, and fans chanted his name while teammates surrounded the cart.

Wentz finished the drive off with a play that Peters would appreciate.

While being hit by two defenders and falling forward, Wentz lofted a 9-yard TD pass to Corey Clement.

Wentz fired a 10-yard TD pass to Nelson Agholor to expand the lead to 31-17. Wentz kept that drive alive by escaping a sack and running 17 yards on third-and-8.

Cousins tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Chris Thompson to give the Redskins a 10-3 lead. He connected with Jordan Reed on a 5-yard TD to cut the deficit to 24-17 and threw a 12-yard pass to Reed to cap the scoring.

The Eagles were penalized on four straight plays to start their first possession before Wentz was intercepted by Quinton Dunbar on a deep pass to Torrey Smith on second-and-31.

Philadelphia swept Washington for the first time since 2013 and has a commanding lead in the NFC East. The Cowboys and Redskins are tied for second place.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Are Patriots' defensive problems solved?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Are Patriots' defensive problems solved?

0:41 - Tom Giles, Michael Holley, and Tom Curran react to the Patriots’ 23-7 win over the Falcons on Sunday night and whether the Patriots deserve to be considered Super Bowl favorites.

6:09 - Is Johnson Bademosi an upgrade over Stephon Gilmore at cornerback for the Patriots? Michael Hurley joins BST to debate with Tom Curran, Michael Holley, and Kayce Smith. They also discuss the defense’s overall improvement in Sunday night’s win.

14:37 - NBC Sports Boston’s Red Sox insider Evan Drellich joins the show to talk about the Red Sox hiring Alex Cora to be their new manager, whether it was the right choice, and how his presence will affect the Red Sox clubhouse.

22:14 - Kayce Smith and Tom Curran discuss Kyrie Irving’s vulgar response to a Philadelphia fan yelling “Where’s LeBron?” at him on Friday night.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE