Former Oakland Raiders and Atlanta Falcons tackle Lincoln Kennedy knows a thing or two about maturing into a strong NFL player.
The first-round pick (No. 9-overall) in the 1993 NFL Draft earned his first Pro Bowl nod in 2000, his eighth season in the league. He’d go on to two more consecutive Pro Bowls, and a first-team All-Pro selection in 2002.
On Thursday, the now-color analyst for the Raiders told “Pritchard and Cecil” he likes the nastiness Broncos 2017 top pick Garett Bolles had in college and the “ferocity” he adds to Denver’s line.
But with that Bolles needs to embrace the “maturation process,” Kennedy said.
“One of the things for him is controlling that temper so that it doesn’t get him in trouble,” Kennedy said. “You’ve got to control between the whistles.”
It’s something Bolles himself said he’s focusing on heading from year one to year two of his career.
“Last year, I just came in and I was raw. I only played offensive tackle for not too long. But now I have a season under my belt,” Bolles said on Tuesday. “I understand what it means to be in the NFL and hold down that left side and know where my quarterback is going to set up every single play, which is a big help.”
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said he’d like to see Bolles “clean up his level of play” heading into next season, along with just “being better for us overall, both in the run and pass game.”
“We had a number of penalties last year that we can get corrected,” Musgrave said. “They’ve been addressed and we’re looking forward to him playing a cleaner style this year.”
It’s about being smart, not putting your offense in a bad position and remaining eligible within the game, Kennedy said.
“The reason why we have to be cerebral is that we have to be between the whistles and we can’t get offensive fouls and some of these unsportsmanlike penalties and get kicked out of the game because we allow our attitude to get the best of us,”
“I just think of the maturation when I think of that progression from one year to the next.”
Follow digital content producer Johnny Hart on Twitter: @johnnyhart7.