Orlando Franklin adds toughness, grit to Chargers' offensive line

SAN DIEGO -- You don’t have to tell Orlando Franklin to bring the pain on game days.

“If you’re not a nasty player and a physical player, and you don’t bring an attitude to this league, why are you really here?” Franklin told reporters during his introductory news conference last week.

Franklin said he was born with a nasty disposition, and it’s one of the reasons the San Diego Chargers signed him to a five-year, $36.5 million deal in free agency.
Facing someone who will compete with a chip on his shoulder comes with the territory when a defensive lineman lines up across from the mammoth Franklin. And although Chargers general manager Tom Telesco wanted to improve the team’s toughness up front, he was more attracted to Franklin’s overall skillset as an offensive lineman.

The Chargers were one of the worst teams running the football last season, averaging 3.43 yards per carry, second worst in the NFL. Quarterback Philip Rivers was sacked 36 times, No. 10 in the NFL. The Chargers threw the football 57 percent of the time in 2014, compared to 51 percent in 2013, when San Diego had more balance on offense.

The addition of Franklin should improve San Diego’s ability to effectively run the football, along with keeping Rivers upright.

“He’s an excellent run blocker,” Telesco said. “And a lot of stuff that Denver does, where he has to use his feet and quickness to get an angle -- get a position and seal somebody and finish them off -- he does an excellent job at that.

“And in pass pro, he uses his long arms, he uses his feet and he can move. He’s a hard guy to run through because he’s so big and strong. So he’s a well-rounded offensive lineman.”

Franklin said the transition from Denver to San Diego in terms of scheme should be a smooth one because a lot of the offensive concepts are the same from the time coach Mike McCoy spent in Denver as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator.

A smooth transition should allow Franklin to play fast and physical once he begins working in San Diego’s offensive system.

“If all else fails, I’ve always prided myself on being a physical player in this league,” Franklin said. “I’m going to get the job done, no ands, ifs or buts about it. I take pride in what I do. I’m a person where it’s not enough for us to get a big gain, or score a touchdown. I want to be the first offensive lineman in the end zone congratulating the receiver or the running back each and every time.

“So I want to be down the field. I think I bring a lot of intensity, and a lot of effort. I play with a high motor, and I’m going to give you 110 percent each and every play.”

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