Orlando Franklin: "I Definitely Made the Right Decision"

Orlando Franklin was a hot commodity in March as one of the premier offensive line free agents available.

He had his pick of the litter, and was confident the San Diego Chargers were the best fit. Still, he called his good friend Brandon Flowers just to make sure before making his final decision.

“Brandon and I are always going to be good,” he explained.  “We played against each other in college and we went to the same high school.  We played each other when I was in Denver and he was in Kansas City and here.  Now it so happens that we are going to be on the same team. Right before I signed with San Diego I asked him what it was like here and he told me, ‘You’ve got the right attitude and you’re a dog, so come on!  That is what we’ll need out here.  We are going to win a lot of football games together.’”

Now that he’s spent a month in the team’s offseason program, his belief he made the right choice has transitioned to fact.  Looking around the locker room at all his teammates, especially those he’ll take the field with on offense, reassures him of that.

“I feel like I definitely made the right decision,” he said.  “A couple weeks ago we went out and drafted Melvin Gordon, and then you look at the big five (up front). We have Philip Rivers back there who will do everything in his power to put us in the best possible situation and run the right plays. From what I see this offense is definitely on the up and up. We are taking the right steps forward to being a successful offense and being one of those top five or 10 offenses in the league. It is definitely an exciting time to be a San Diego Charger. They really wanted me and I’m glad I’m here.”

Franklin spoke at length about Rivers after inking his contract in March, but he’s even more impressed by number 17 after spending significant time with him.

“He’s such an intelligent guy, and he’s a guy who welcomes you.  He talks to you and understand that I am not going to know everything like the back of my hand right now, so he will slow some things down for me and ask if I’m good on certain plays.  You get that sense how badly he wants to win.  He desperately wants to win. When you have a quarterback that wants to win that badly, the sky’s the limit.”

While Franklin can’t wait to protect for his star quarterback, he’s equally eager to open up holes for the Bolts’ talented stable of running backs.

“Any time you come into a system and know you’ll have the opportunity to run the ball, it’s definitely an exciting time,” he said. “We went out and got a home run hitting back like Melvin Gordon.  Obviously college doesn’t mean anything, but he definitely possesses a lot of the right tools to be a successful back in this league.  Then you have a guy like Danny Woodhead, who’s been doing what he’s done in this league for a very long time.  And then you have a guy like Branden Oliver, who also has potential home run ability because you can barely see that guy running through those holes.  And to have a guy like Donald Brown too, it’s really exciting to have all those guys.”

As for the guys he’ll be blocking with, Franklin takes one look to his right at Chris Watt and another glance to his left at King Dunlap and already feels right at home.

“These guys are really intelligent guys who know this system. Chris Watt is penciled in at center, and you’ve definitely got to be an intelligent person to be the starting center of an offensive line.  That is the second quarterback on the team as far as getting the offensive line together and getting the right calls and points for everyone.  So it is exciting to play with a young player like that, and King has been out here for a while now.  He thinks like me and understands me.  For us to only have been here only a month and know each other (like this), it’s definitely a positive step in the right direction.”

While he admittedly knows his offensive teammates better than those on defense at the moment, the left guard has paid special attention to one of the newest Bolts on the other side of the ball.  Second-round pick Denzel Perryman hails from his alma mater at Miami, so he knows what the young inside linebacker brings to the table.

“It’s all about the U!  And you always need more guys like Perryman around.  He did a lot of great things, and as a second round pick he obviously understands the expectations that are on him.   He realizes that there is only one way to play this game – physical.  And he definitely brings physicality to us. He is a sideline to sideline player who brings the hammer when he gets there.”

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