Many men have Tim Tebow’s back, but one in particular really stands out.
Rookie right tackle Orlando Franklin protects Tebow’s blindside every week. It’s hard for offensive linemen to protect a quarterback that is capable of running the ball in addition to a quarterback that is relatively inexperienced as a professional. Holding penalties are easier to come by and offensive linemen have to work longer to protect their quarterback who may be slower going through his progressions than a quarterback who has been in the league for five years.
Franklin was drafted out of Miami (FL) in the second round of the 2011 draft. At the time the Broncos didn’t know who their starting quarterback would be. At 6’7″, 330 lbs., Franklin was just another big body that made the Broncos offensive line look like the Twin Towers.
As with most players coming out of college, there’s an adjustment period and Franklin was no different.
“Very similar to the two young guys, J.D (Walton) and Zane (Beadles) last year, each week he’s gotten better,” offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said of Franklin. “That’s any football player. The more experience you have, the better you’re going to be. That’s something Orlando has done. He’s made some mistakes, he learned from them, and we just stayed positive with him.”
As a team the Broncos have given up 32 sacks this year. There are 13 other teams that have given up more. They’ve only allowed their QB to get hit just 53 times which is 6th best in the league.
The Broncos offensive line went through some major growing pangs last season. The Broncos were averaging less than 100 rushing yards per game which was 26th in the league. Now they have the best rushing game in the league, averaging 156.2 yards per game.
A lot comes with at least a year of experience under the belt. Walton and Beadles have fallen into their roles very nicely. They’ve learned the speed of the NFL game and different techniques that have helped them excel in their second year in the league. Ryan Clady and Chris Kuper are seasoned veterans and they enjoy blocking for John Fox’s heavy run attack.
These are all great guys for Franklin to learn from. He’s come a long way since week one, and like the team as a whole, he’s only getting better with experience and success.