In his most recent piece, the excellent Cecil Lammey made a very encouraging observation about Orlando Franklin and his switch from right tackle to left guard. In OTAs, Franklin is taking the bull by the horns so to speak. Sounds like left guard is definitely his job to lose.
Offensive Coordinator, Adam Gase, had this to say, regarding what type of technique Franklin must work on and perfect, in order to be an excellent left guard:
“We talk about it all the time and [G] Louis [Vasquez] does a great job of this as far as just your pad level. We just want to make sure these guys aren’t standing straight up and getting pushed back. It is a little less physical than what you expect, but you can do the little things right: your footwork, and just the way that you come off the ball, where it’s in a safe manner, but at the same time, you can show that you know what you’re supposed to do.” Gase concluded, “And then a lot of our stuff is assignment. ‘Hey, be right on what you’re supposed to do.’”
I’ve been a vehement supporter of the Broncos moving Franklin to left guard, since the off-season began. He’s a natural mauler. Although he’s worked on it and improved since he was drafted, he doesn’t have the quickest, or smoothest footwork, which is paramount on the outside. Especially when asked to take on quick twitch, explosive edge rushers and block them at the point of attack and keep them from collapsing the pocket, or bending the edge.
At the University of Miami, he played left guard and tackle. He’s nasty, he’s powerful and he’s not easy to budge with inside leverage.
But by and large, Franklin was an excellent right tackle. One of the best in the NFL. His stalwart play in 2013 earned him a +19.2 overall grade from PFF, which ranked him as the 17th best tackle in the NFL and that includes the elite left tackles.
The confidence that the Broncos have in Frankin is the primary reason they chose to let former Pro Bowler, Zane Beadles, walk via free agency. And the rise of Chris Clark as a bonafide NFL tackle, made moving Franklin to guard a no-brainer.
This new juxtaposition on the offensive line is sure to make the Broncos’ running game a formidable weapon in 2014. Franklin, Manny Ramirez and Louis Vasquez are quite the beefy, nasty triumvirate to blast open holes inside for Montee Ball and keep Peyton Manning from getting pressure in his face.
Manning can deal with edge pressure. He can “climb the ladder”, or step up in the pocket and make the throw down the field. Where Manning truly struggles, and this is the case with most immobile quarterbacks, is when the pressure comes from the interior. In the Super Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks did an excellent job of this and as a result, Manning never got into a rhythm.
It’s very encouraging to see that Franklin is thriving at left guard. Here’s how Lammey closed out his piece:
“The team has had a clear vision for Franklin ever since the offseason began. It made no attempt to keep Beadles around because of its confidence in Franklin switching positions. That confidence continues during minicamp, and we could really see Franklin flourish at his new spot during training camp and the preseason.”
You tell us, Broncos Country. Are you excited about this new-look offensive line? Tell us in the comments!