Garett Bolles was arguably the best left tackle in football last season.
In his fourth season in the NFL, the 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive lineman looked like the player the Broncos hoped he would be when they drafted him 20th overall in 2017. He gave up zero sacks, committed only seven penalties and was ranked the third-best tackle in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. That's how he earned his four-year, $68 million contract extension Nov. 29.
But Bolles isn't satisfied. He wants to build off last year's momentum and not be "arguably" the best, but the best left tackle in football.
"I’m the strongest and fastest I’ve ever been," Bolles said May 24, the first day of the Broncos' organized team activities. "This was a great offseason for me. Nothing changed. I did exactly the same thing. I have bad OCD, so once I find something that I love to do, I continue to do it because I feel like it’s preparation for me."
Because of his success, Bolles is also starting to become a leader among his peers. He and guard Graham Glasgow are two of the most veteran offensive linemen on the offensive line, taking the rookies and other young guys under their wing this offseason.
“I think it’s huge just getting the young guys out there and getting everyone familiar with this offense," Bolles said June 16. "A lot of us older guys — me, Dalton (Risner), ‘Cush’ (Lloyd Cushenberry), Graham, Calvin (Anderson), Austin (Schlottmann) and some of the guys that were here last year. We can set the tone in helping them go through the things that you sort of go through as a young player mentally and physically. We can be out there with them and help them. Like today, a couple of the young guys came to me and asked me, ‘Do I punch like this? Do I not?’
"It’s fun for me. I know it’s fun for the older guys to just help the young rookies because these are the guys that are going to help us win in the future.”
There will be a lot of pressure on Bolles to be a leader in 2021, while continuing his success on the field. But Bolles is confident he, and the Broncos, have the right pieces to start winning games next year.
And two of the biggest reasons why he believes that is offensive line coach Mike Munchak and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur — two coaches Bolles credits with turning his career around.
"I love ‘Munch’ dearly. I think he’s a phenomenal coach and I think he does a lot of great things. He just gives me confidence and poise to go out there and do my job well," Bolles said. “I love coach Shurmur. I think he’s a phenomenal play caller. I think he’s a phenomenal coach. I have a great relationship with him. We talk on a regular basis. He’s blessed my life dramatically, making it easier for me and using my athletic ability by pulling me and getting me in space to block for our backs and our receivers.
"Having the same familiar faces out there just makes me feel relaxed and ready to rock and roll. I’m really looking forward to seeing what type of season we’re going to have.”