ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Broncos left tackle Garett Bolles has seen a great deal of change since his last training camp: a new coach in Head Coach Sean Payton, two decorated teammates on the offensive line in right tackle Mike McGlinchey and guard Ben Powers and a new offensive line coach in Zach Strief. But what hasn't changed amid the new faces and Bolles' successful return from leg injury is his status as a key figure on the offensive line.
Bolles is one of the longest-tenured Broncos, as he enters his seventh season with the team. He's brought power and consistency to the critical left tackle position, starting at least 14 games in his first five seasons before missing the second half of last season — and he will again be a crucial player on Denver's offense.
The 20th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft has adapted well to the myriad changes. Bolles said accelerating the offense's tempo has been a point of emphasis from Payton so far and said that what he has enjoyed most this training camp is Payton's approach to his players.
"Everybody has different aspects of the game – fast, big, strong – and then he takes everybody, all 11 guys on the offense, and puts us in positions to win," Bolles said. "Coach Payton has been doing it for so many years, you've seen his record, you've seen what he does. It's just a great time to be a Bronco, to have a coach who cares for each and every person."
Bolles also spoke highly of new Offensive Line Coach Zach Strief, who played his final year for Payton's Saints in 2017. He said Strief's extensive playing experience has made him an invaluable resource.
"He understands the new game, the new era," Bolles said. "He's gone through the system, he's played 12 years in this system, so just all the keys and little things he tells us about, the details of this game, this offense, has been a huge thing for all of us in the room, not just me but every single person."
On the field, Bolles will partner with free-agent acquisition Mike McGlinchey to hold down the offensive line's two tackle spots. Bolles developed a friendship with McGlinchey through their work with standout offensive lineman Joe Staley and said getting such a consistent player at the right tackle position bodes well for the offense.
"He's a great dude," Bolles said. "He came here for a reason and I'm excited … just having a guy who is connected and set in stone at that position. The success he's had with the 49ers and the leadership skills that he's going to bring to our O-line … I'm just grateful to have him part of our room."
Bolles missed the majority of the 2022 season, but expects to be back at his All-Pro form for this season. He said that facing adversity and the chance to prove doubters wrong has been exactly what he's needed to play his best football.
"I love when my back's to the wall," Bolles said. "I love when people doubt me. I love when everyone doubts me, because that's just when I play my best football. I've been doubted my whole life, that's nothing new to me. Let the haters hate and let me do what I need to do, that just fuels my fire. … If I'm playing my best football, we can win a lot of football games."