Family resemblance for Boldin
By TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency
|Argos' D.J. Boldin follows the ball into his hands during Thursday's rookie camp workout in Mississauga, Ont.
TORONTO - D.J. Boldin had one last conversation with his older brother before he headed to Argonauts rookie camp from his home in Florida.
“He always tells me to take advantage of every opportunity, and I know this is an opportunity that I have control over,” Boldin said on Thursday after another practice under cloudless skies in Mississauga.
“I’m making mistakes, but trying to make sure I just make them once and move on.”
The advice is sound. Boldin’s big brother by six years is Baltimore Raven star receiver Anquan Boldin, who knows a thing or two about catching the football. Anquan Boldin last season became the fastest player in NFL history to get 600 catches, reaching the milestone in 98 games.
D.J., an abbreviation of Demir Javon, is giving himself a terrific shot at landing a job with the Argos receiving corps. The 24-year-old finished the 2010 season on the Argos’ practice roster, but it’s what he did at the Boatmen’s free-agent camp in Florida, and continued in the first two days of the rookie camp, that has head coach and general manager Jim Barker enthused.
A good example came on Thursday, when Boldin eluded cornerback Armando Murillo and made a tight catch before falling to the turf.
In Boldin, Barker sees some of Anquan and a similarity to Nik Lewis of the Calgary Stampeders.
“He has been outstanding out here,” Barker said. “He catches everything, and is a lot like his brother, very physical. He is a Nik Lewis type of guy who is bigger and going to catch everything. He has been one of the top receivers without question.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how he falls into this thing.”
The Argos aren’t spilling over in terms of experience when it comes to their receivers. Veteran slotback Jeremaine Copeland isn’t going anywhere, but one could make the argument that, after Copeland, no one is a sure thing. Non-imports Mike Bradwell and Spencer Watt will get long looks. The same goes for P.K. Sam, James Robinson and Brandon Rideau. But when veterans report for medicals on Saturday, few who are paid to catch the ball will be able to boast about having a spot sewn up.
That’s why Boldin and others know they can be on the 42-man roster when the regular season opens on July 1 in Calgary if they perform well in the next month.
For Boldin, putting himself on a higher pedestal at the free-agent camp in April helped.
“It gave me an edge, but I am still looking forward to competing,” Boldin said. “You’re mindful of what is going on, what the possibilities are. I know I have a good chance for a job, and if not, I can still learn from some great players.”
Boldin was not the only receiver who stood out for good reasons. Rookie Djems (pronounced gems) Kouame, selected 18th overall by the Argos at the Canadian draft in May, showed a bit of moxie when he caught a pass and kept going hard, causing defensive back Dee Webb to forcefully push Kouame in the face and head.
“That’s the kind of thing that will get you a penalty!” Barker yelled at Webb.
Later, Barker said the determination by Kouame is what he loves to see. There’s no doubt the 22-year-old Kouame is raw, but his potential is clear.
“He caught the ball and he was going to get it into the end zone,” Barker said. “He is just a physical kid by nature, and he has a lot of upside. We’re excited about him.”
Boldin, who talks a pretty good game too, is in the same category.
“I’m really comfortable,” Boldin said. “My confidence level, my swagger. The offence was a little bit dead today and I was trying to get guys going, pull them along. Full pads, there is nothing like it.”