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2015 Training Camp Preview: Offensive Line
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GM Tom Telesco on Dunlap: “We got King Dunlap (back), which was big. He was a big part of our offseason plan, so I’m happy to have him back. And I’m really proud of King for the opportunity he got, and how he seized it. He’s played really good football for us.”
GM Tom Telesco on Franklin: “Offensive line has been an area we wanted to improve on, and Orlando Franklin was our main target through the whole thing. We like how he plays in both the run and pass game. He’s been very durable, very productive and played with a good team. I do think it’s nice that he’ll be playing the same position and really the same scheme as he played in Denver. Hopefully the transition should be eased a little bit that way (as) he steps in and plays right away. So we’re really happy to have him, and like I said, our number one target in free agency was to get him.”
OL Coach Joe D’Alessandris on Watt: “I think he has grown tremendously. The sky is the limit for this young man. He’s like a sponge. He likes to grasp all the knowledge he can get with the teaching aspects of it. He’s great with the technical aspects of it in the classroom and on the field. So like I said, he will put the ceiling on his potential. There is a lot of growth, and we saw last year very good growth during the season, so having him back on the field is great.”
OL Coach Joe D’Alessandris on Troutman: “Johnnie has really developed from when I first got here. He was injured his rookie year but our first spring he began to learn the offense. He came into his own and before we knew it, he did a nice job throughout that first training camp and preseason. Johnnie continued to grow as a player. He then got his first career start against the Cowboys in 2013. That helped developed his confidence. Last season he began as a starter against Arizona and has continued to make steady progress through spring OTAs. ”
OL Coach Joe D’Alessandris on Fluker: “Last year he was a little bit up and down. All of a sudden he played against opponents who figured him out in some things, and he was figuring them out. I think players go through that throughout their career. And the way D.J. approaches everything, he’s going to work at it and improve. He’s done a very nice job in the offseason program. He has had solid, consistent practices and has worked very hard on his overall technique. He has shown a lot of consistency.”
OL Coach Joe D’Alessandris on Barksdale: “Joe did a very nice job in St. Louis, and now we have him in a role where he is learning an offense that is new to him. But he is growing daily. That is encouraging because once he gets everything down - the terminology, technical aspects and fundamentals – it won’t be as much a thinking process as a reaction process. So you will see a more refined player.”
OL Coach Joe D’Alessandris on Hairston: “Chris is a quality player… Chris is a very intelligent young man. He really tries to become a technician, so it is good to be back with him. He just has to get back to using the communication system faster. He was exposed to this system when we were in Buffalo. Repetition will speed up this process.”
OL Coach Joe D’Alessandris on Robinson: “I can’t say enough good things about Trevor Robinson. This young man came in the later part of our season last year and had to learn a new system. …He was instrumental in (our comebacks) and showed a lot of promise. I think it gave him a lot of confidence, and it gave us a lot of confidence. This offseason he’s been nothing but a plus. It’s been great to have him back.”
OL Coach Joe D’Alessandris on Huey: “I have watched him grow and learn during our OTA's. He approaches each day with a purpose to improve and applies his skills on the field. He really works on his trade. Center is something new for him. He has been a guard and is learning how to become a center. He has done a nice job thus far.”
Sirles – Activated off the practice squad late in the year, the former Nebraska tackle made an impact at guard down the stretch. Sirles was pressed into action during the team’s memorable comeback in Santa Clara, and started his first career game in the season finale at Kansas City.
OL Coach Joe D’Alessandris on Sirles: “Jeremiah grew from being a right tackle and a little bit of guard last summer, and now he is growing so much more across the offensive front playing multiple positions. That second year is always a big growth year. His confidence is there. He executes. He is a very tough competitor, and very productive. So it’s nice to see him grow from year one to year two.”
Watts – Making the jump from West Texas A&M to the Chargers, Watts went from rookie camp tryout to practice squad mainstay in 2014. After a year of seasoning, the guard aims to prove his next leap should be to the active roster.
OL Coach Joe D’Alessandris on Watts: “Craig came here from West Texas A&M. He has grown as a professional. He works diligently every day. He has improved his size and strength in the weight room. In the classroom Craig is a conscientious note taker. He has shown steady growth on the field, which is encouraging. Growth is always a positive sign.”
Wiggins – The Bolts have long been fans of the guard/tackle, but he was the victim of a numbers crunch at the end of last year’s training camp. Luckily, they were able to re-sign Wiggins late last December, and he made his NFL debut on special teams against the Chiefs in Week 17.
OL Coach Joe D’Alessandris on Wiggins: “He fits our bill as a tackle, and then we cross-trained him to play some guard. Kenny is steady and consistent. You will get the same Kenny every day, and that’s a plus. You look for that consistency in an offensive lineman. It was a hard decision we had to make when we didn’t keep him, but fortunately we got him back, and that was fun for us and fun for him. Now he gets another opportunity.”
Beckwith – At 6-5, 295-pounds, the former tight end starred at tackle for the Cincinnati Bearcats after transferring from SUNY-Cortland.
Burwell – The 6-6, 305-pound Western Kentucky tackle is an athletic specimen who operates well in space.
Hickman – The 6-7, 320-pound Hickman was a four year starter at left tackle for the Missouri S&T Miners. A three-time All-Great Lakes Valley Conference selection, he was named to the first team as a sophomore and senior.
OL Coach Joe D’Alessandris on undrafted free agents: “Our three college free agents, Tyreek Burwell, Ben Beckwith and Forrestal Hickman, have done a very good job learning the offense through OTAs which will give them a chance to compete during training camp.”