Elway on Garett Bolles' holding calls: 'It's got to stop'

John Elway drafted Garett Bolles in the first round of the 2017 draft and has been one of his staunchest supporters since. But more than two years of continuous holding calls prompted the Broncos' general manager to release some rather pointed criticism of his left tackle.

"Well, it's got to stop. Period," Elway said during his weekly appearance on KOA NewsRadio, per ESPN. "There are no more excuses for it. He's had 26 holding penalties in the last two years and two games, so it's got to stop. The bottom line is if he thinks he's getting singled out, he is. He's got to understand that. He's got to understand what he's doing. And that was my question [Sunday], 'Does he know what holding is?' Does he know what he can and can't do?'

"If he thinks he's getting targeted, he's got to realize he isn't. We'll keep working for it and he's still a talented guy. He cannot do that because it's beating us."

Bolles has five holding penalties on the season and might have lost his job already if the 0-2 Broncos had the depth to replace him. Coach Vic Fangio said earlier in the week that it's unlikely Bolles will be spelled in the coming weeks because there isn't a suitable replacement. He was flagged for holding four times in Denver's loss to the Bears last week.

"Obviously it hurts us [Sunday] at different points in the game," Fangio said. "... You know a lot of times, even though we overcame a couple of them, they're a drive-stopper. We've got to be able to block our guy without holding."

Bolles, it should be noted, believes he's being unfairly targeted.

"It was frustrating," Bolles said. "I've built a reputation for myself in this league of holding. I disagree with it, to be honest. There are some calls I disagree with, and there are some things that I understand. ... But I have the best O-line coach in the National Football League with Coach Munchak. ... I'm going to turn this around. I promise you all that. I promise Broncos Country that. I promise my teammates that. That was just unfortunate that they keep coming after me, but it is what it is."

If Bolles continues to underpeform, Elway might be coming for him next. He certainly wouldn't be blindsided.