Dec 23 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos tackle Orlando Franklin (74) protects in the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Sports Authority Field. The Broncos defeated the Browns 34-12. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Orlando Franklin Thriving At Left Guard

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!

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  • anon76returns

    I think no question Orlando at LG is an improvement at LG, and perhaps an improvement in our use of Franklin.

    But I do feel that Clark at RT is a downgrade- I love him as a swing backup, but he also got abused by Indy, Houston, and Seattle. And as good as he was at pass blocking in the other games, he was always a liability in the run game. I’d love to see us emphasize the run a bit more this year, and so I hope either Clark improves greatly in that area, or else one of the other T’s outcompetes him.

    • Chad Jensen

      With a number 3 pick being used on a tackle, I think it’ll push Clark to a higher level. Winston Justice sure as hell ain’t gonna do it. I understand your concern though. Thanks for the comment!

      • anon76returns

        Schofield or Painter are where my hopes lie. If Painter can become as good of a player as he was a combine athlete, he’ll be phenomenal. Schofield seems to be a very appropriate 3rd round pick, but seems the type that will be much better in his 2nd year than in his rookie campaign.

        • Chad Jensen

          Yeah, Painter is a freakish athlete. If he can get his technique on par with his talent, he’d be remarkable player. Those are big ifs though.

  • Nathan Bates

    i also love the move. if he wasnt moved than that would mean that clark would have to sit and considering the excellent job he did replacing clady at LT that would seem like a waste of talent on tge the bench. im no expert but i would think that if clark can play LT effectively, than RT should be a piece of cake for Clark

    • Chad Jensen

      Couldn’t agree more.