Former coach Orlando Franklin breaks down what to expect from Mike McGlinchey
Mar 15, 2023, 9:15 AM
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Mike McGlinchey will officially become the highest-paid offensive lineman in Broncos history when he signs his contract. In terms of average annual value, he’ll check in at a half-million dollars per year over Garett Bolles.
The investment is massive.
Like McGlinchey himself.
“I’ll tell you this: I don’t think that there’s a more impressive-looking human being that you’ll ever see at the position,” said Orlando Franklin, who worked on the 49ers coaching staff helping coach offensive linemen — including McGlinchey — during the 2021 season. “Big, strapping human being, 6-7, bench-press the world, squat the world. Unbelievable flexibility with his hips. I wish that I was even half as flexible as him.”
Physically, McGlinchey is the complete package.
So, why, then, did he have ups and downs during five 49ers seasons? After coaching McGlinchey, Franklin has an idea.
“[He] tends to play too high at times,” Franklin said on-air Monday. “And when you play high, it doesn’t matter how much you bench-press. It doesn’t matter how much you back-squat. You will get taken advantage of.
“So, because of his big-body frame, he will get up there, and he will play a little bit higher and people will get up underneath him and expose him a little bit. So, when you look at that, you can always be a liability in pass-blocking because of that.”
Indeed, McGlinchey’s career has been defined by by flourishing as a run blocker, but having mixed results in pass protection. But the way Payton structures his line could aid McGlinchey’s cause, Franklin notes.
“There was no secret with Sean Payton. Just go back and look at everything that he’s done as far as his offensive line. Those two guards and that center — they’ve gotta be war daddies, because he wants the quarterback to climb the pocket. Those guys can’t allow any ground. They can’t give anything,” Franklin said.
“Tackles, just run them up the field. So, hopefully, Mike now gets that and is able to run guys up the field and the interior — which is the most important part of this offensive line — takes care of what they have to take care of.”
Coaching will matter for McGlinchey — and not just from Payton. Zach Strief will be McGlinchey’s position coach. After serving as assistant offensive-line coach in New Orleans, Strief handles the top O-line role for the first time.
“He goes from one of the best offensive-line coaches in Chris Foerster, to Zach Strief, that’s a young buck, a guy that’s coming in; he’s trying to figure it out,” Franklin said. “I think there will be some static in that relationship, the day-to-day of it. …”
“So, I think he will have some questions for Zach [Strief],” Franklin added a few minutes later, “and Zach’s going to have to show him, ‘Hey, this is why we do things,’ to get him to buy in.”
Franklin expects Strief and McGlinchey can find a groove.
“That could be a little bit of issue, but there are a bunch of a positives when it comes to Mike. Mike’s one of the quickest-twitch guys that I’ve ever seen out there. So, he’s going to understand his assignment. He’s going to be that player-coach out there for you, as well.
“What I’m banking on was that Zach Strief, he was never the big, strapping guy. He wasn’t the most physical, the most talented guy, but yet this guy’s played a lot of football. When I was out there in New Orleans, he grabbed me right away and started teaching me the offense, and he was able to relate it to me in \the exact way that I needed. So, he understands exactly what he has in each and every player. Now, it’s time to give these players the right tools to put in their toolbox.”
McGlinchey got paid. Now he must prove he’s worth it.
“He got a whole lot of money,” Franklin said. “It was exactly what I thought was going to happen in free agency for the Broncos, that you were going to get there and have to overpay for guys if you were going to be able to attract guys.”
Further, as Franklin reminded listeners — the 49ers chose to let McGlinchey go. And he won’t solve all of the Broncos’ problems up front.
“And let’s just be honest, I came on these airwaves, and I tell people all the time: Good offensive linemen tend to not hit free agency. They keep those guys,” Franklin said. “The San Francisco 49ers said, ‘Hey, you know what? We can get by with somebody else. We’re going to allow Mike McGlinchey to test free agency.’
“Now, I’m rooting for the kid. I am rooting for him. But I still think that there’s ways to go — still, even with those two big free-agent signings for the Broncos.”