Broncos Notes: Franklin, Knighton, Gase

The Broncos have done some reshuffling along their offensive line this offseason — Ryan Clady will return from injury to protect Peyton Manning‘s blindside at left tackle, meaning his replacement last season, Chris Clark, will move to right tackle to compete with Winston Justice. In turn, Orlando Franklin, the 2013 starter on the right side, will find a new home at left guard, taking over for the departed Zane Beadles. As Mike Klis of the Denver Post writes, Franklin initially perceived the position switch as a slight, before deciding to embrace the move for the good of the team. The 6’7″, 320-pound Franklin is larger than a typical guard, and he admits he still has some work to do in order to master the position. I’m definitely not a finished product, but I’m more comfortable today than what I was nine weeks ago at the position,” said Franklin. “It’s like learning all over again. Offensive tackle is a little different. They’ve got a lot more moves and there’s a lot more space. Being inside, yeah, they’re a lot bigger in there, but it’s like fighting in a phone booth.”

  • In a separate piece, Klis expounds on the confidence of defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, who excelled last season after signing a two-year contract with Denver. “…I think I’m in the prime of my career. I honestly don’t feel like there’s a center that can block me,” said the 27-year-old. “I’ll just keep working at it. I’ve watched film from last year, and I’ve watched future opponents. Right now, I’m just trying to go out there and dominate and continue where I left off.” Knighton, who will earn a base salary of $1.5MM in 2014, could be in line for a sizeable deal next offseason if he continues to perform well.
  • Offensive coordinator Adam Gase was the hot name among head coaching candidates this offseason, and was atop the Browns’ wishlist, writes Woody Paige of the Denver Post. However, Gase admits he made some poor play-calls in the Super Bowl, and feels the Broncos can accomplish even more on offense in 2014. Of course, that would lead to his being even more in demand next offseason, but Paige thinks Gase might stick around in Denver for the remainder of Manning’s tenure, and even posits that the 36-year-old could become the Broncos’ head coach at some point in the future.
  • Fielding an imposing pass rush shouldn’t be a problem for the Broncos given the presence of Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, but’s Jeff Legwold thinks 2013 fifth-rounder Quanterus Smith could be a wild card next season. Smith was leading the nation in sacks while at Western Kentucky in 2012 before he tore his ACL; he then spent all of last season on injured reserve.
  • In a separate piece focusing on OTA highlights, Legwold opines that receiver Emmanuel Sanders, signed to a three-year deal in the offseason, has exhibited versatility and put in extra work with Manning, leading Legwold to believe that rapport could continue into the regular season.
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