One is a buttoned-up 11-year veteran who is all about football. The other is a lively rookie who is all about getting information from the buttoned-up 11-year veteran who is all about football.
The biggest common bond between the two is that both players share the love of being competitors at the wide receiver position.
Boldin’s young teammate has already made quite the impression on the veteran in the short time they’ve been teammates. When the rookie receiver’s name was brought up to Boldin this week, all the veteran could do was smile.
“He’s just a kid with a bunch of energy,” the 49ers No. 1 receiver said. “Every day he always comes in with a smile on his face. He always comes in with high energy, willing to learn.”
So why did Boldin react that way when asked about rookie he’s helped mentor? Because Patton’s infectious demeanor has been an enjoyable aspect of camp.
“Every day, no matter, how everybody else is feeling, he’s always full of energy,” Boldin said. “He’s one of those guys that brings a spark to the room.”
Boldin, who is known for his serious approach to the game, has no problem with it at all.
“We allow him to be him,” Boldin said. “If that’s who you are, definitely bring it. You don’t want to alter the way somebody is. You want them to be themselves.”
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Even so, Patton has used the camp sessions to sharpen his understanding of the offense and maintain his football conditioning. It’s tough to not catch the passes being thrown his way, but Patton understands the importance of healing for the regular season.
“I’m getting more mental reps than anything,” said Patton, who is leaving it up to the coaches to determine his availability in the preseason. “I’ve been in the playbook. I’ve probably learned the playbook a lot better from being out there.”
Boldin sees the non-contact practice reps as a positive for his exuberant teammate.
“I think it’s been good for him,” the three-time Pro Bowl wideout said. “Although he hasn’t been able to catch the ball, he’s been able to go in and go against the defense. He’s been able to run routes, but obviously he hasn’t been able to catch it.”
Well, that hasn’t always been the case.
At one point of camp, Patton hauled in a one-handed reception on a sideline pass from
Boldin sees the practice time helping Patton in more ways than one.
“I think it’s good they’re still throwing him the ball because he gets a chance to see the speed of the ball,” the veteran said. “And he’s made a couple catches actually. It’s good for him to be in there.”
For his part, Patton is pleased with the strides he’s made, especially with his conditioning at this point of training camp.
“I haven’t really been sitting out,” he said. “I’ve been running around full speed and getting a lot of scout team reps… I’m getting conditioning in and working on dropping my hips in my routes.”
When the first-team offense takes the field, Patton has taken close mental notes on Boldin’s route-running and play-making ability. Patton will also typically find Boldin at practice and ask him questions.
“He’ll be dropping knowledge on me,” Patton said with a smile of his own. “And every once in a while he’ll drop a joke, but it’s strictly business.
“He’s been a great teammate.”