Part of the Bay Area News Group

Branch will play anywhere

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, December 17th, 2009 at 1:15 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Tyvon Branch is low-maintenance.

When the Raiders found themselves short of defensive backs with Michael Huff nursing a stinger and Nnamdi Asomugha temporarily leaving the game to have his forearm X-rayed, Cable had his starting strong safety line up outside as a cornerback against wide receivers.

“He says, `Got, coach. What’s the call? You want me to play man or zone. I got it. Just tell me what to do,’ ” Cable said. that’s what you need your team to be, guys that are selfless that way.”

Branch said Thursday it doesn’t much matter to him where he plays.

“I just want to be a good player, regardless of where it is,” Branch said. “If they need me to go down to D-tackle, D-end or anything, I’ll do it. I just love playing. I have a lot of love for the game still and I think that’s what separates me from other guys.”

According to unofficial NFL statistics for tackles, Branch leads all defensive backs with 99 tackles. That’s only two behind linebacker Kirk Morrison for the team lead, and Morrison has lead the Raiders in tackles four years in a row.

He’s played in the box and and in coverage against tight ends, and is now proving he can stay with wide receivers if called upon. After missing much of his rookie year following shoulder surgery, Branch, a fourth-round draft pick out of UConn, was talked up during the offseason as a significant member of the Raiders defense.

For the Raiders, whose ability to find and develop safeties during the draft has been suspect in recent years, it was enough for hardened cynics to give a major roll of the eyes.

Except Branch has validated the hype through his play. He’s made some mistakes in coverage and had a handful of missed tackles, but in his second season, Branch has considerable upside at a problem position for the Raiders.

He was even voted the winner of the team’s Ed Block Courage Award by his teammates as the player as the player who“ best exemplifies a commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.”

“It means a lot, that the guys look at me like that,” Branch said.

One grateful teammate is rookie safety Mike Mitchell, who credited Branch by saving him some money in NFL-imposed fines for keeping him from getting in a fight following the 34-13 loss to the Redskins.

Mitchell sought out Washington cornerback Fred Smoot for celebrating over a fallen Zach Miller, Cable cited it as an example of the rookie defensive back sticking up for family.

Branch, in turn had Mitchell’s back in the aftermath.

“Tyvon ended up grabbing me and literally pulled me in the locker room and said, `Man, this is stupid, get inside,’ ” Mitchell said.

Mitchell can’t promise he’ll react any differently if he sees Denver players celebrating near the Raiders bench while a teammate is injured nearby.

“That’s how I am. A tiger doesn’t change his stripes,” Mitchell said. “Even though I can tell myself a thousand times over I’d like to handle myself differently, when I feel disrespected like that I just have to do something.”

If Mitchell can make career advances in Year 2 that Branch did this season, the Raiders could have a pair of starting, home grown safeties. Mitchell’s play has increased in nickel packages, and Branch’s recent forays in coverage indicate he could ultimately become a free safety.

Branch, predictably, isn’t overly concerned about where he’ll lineup so long as he’s on the field.

“I really don’t deal with part of the game. I just go out there and play and let the coaches make the decisions they’re going to make and the way things are going right now with Mike coming in in packages the way he is, and stepping up the way he is, it’s working for us,” Branchs said.

Miller watching practice

Tight end Zach Miller made a slow walk from the club facility to the field Thursday wearing a baseball cap and not dressed to practice.

There’s a good chance Miller will be shut down this week after sustaining his second concussion since Oct 4, with Tony Stewart and Brandon Myers taking over against Denver.

Tim Mattran, a 6-foot-5, 295-pound center out of Stanford who was last with the St. Louis Rams, has joined the practice squad after Roy Schuening _ whom the Raiders hoped to return to the practice squad _ was claimed by the Detriot Lions after being waived from the 53-man roster.

More to come . . .

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  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    ExLa, Al Davis sucks. Just give up.

  • http://http://www.mensa.org/ Raiders Grief Counselor Albert Bigelow Paine

    Russel is done. J.P. Losman is Al’s new franchise QB.

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    Albert Bigelow, name your wager.

  • bdlraider

    Anyone see this

    http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-films-sound-efx/09000d5d815045f9/Sound-FX-Tom-Cable-mic-d-up?campaign=Ext_email_NL_WK15_OAK

    JR’s season in a nutshell

    Cable to JR “This is good, we got this for shotgun…Hey are you listening?”

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    December 17th, 2009 at 3:06 pm
    ExLa, Al Davis sucks. Just give up.
    ——————————-
    Who ever said I was a Al Davis defender aho. That came from wiki. Just a fact. Something you are not used to.
    Like no one else but you knows that AD has not paid Kiffin? Try telling us something no one has heard before. By the way, he still has not paid Shanahan either.

  • Mistabrown

    I saw that on Chronicle live or NFL Live or NFLN last night I cant remember which it was. JaMarshmallow has ran his course.
    ===========================

    JR’s season in a nutshell

    Cable to JR “This is good, we got this for shotgun…Hey are you listening?”

  • mistic1

    Dakota,

    I am in my thirties, but I am old enough to to have seen the last 3 super bowl teams, and the very good teams that didnt make the superbowls, and all of the playoff teams and division winners. Just because we have struggled of late ( 7 years) there is no need to panic or lose sight of the big picture. When was the last cowboy run, or the last niner run. Hell the steelers wnet almost 30 years between trophies. Relax guys, would you have rather been a bear fan, or an jet fan for the last 25. Lets not be ungrateful fair weather bandwagneers.

  • Mistabrown

    Hey MR, what about AL letting Cable bench Russell? The writing is on the wall for JaMeatball.

    Since Al is done with JaMeatball everything you been spewing for the last 2 weeks is pretty much bogus hollow hot garbage out of your mouth as usual.

    You are now in the class of Oakglen & Priesttj as far as clowns who have their head in their anus.

    The end.

  • http://http://www.mensa.org/ Raiders Grief Counselor Albert Bigelow Paine

    MR, If I am correct about Russel, you have to wear a Raiders track suit, style your hair in a pompadour, and sport some tacky silver rimmed sun glasses. If you win, I will spend a month on this blog sucking up to Beeecham like Herrera does Davis.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder
  • Richochet

    # The Real MaddenRaider Says:
    December 17th, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    You’re on, Richochet. And I shouldn’t tell you this, but Russell and his agent already held Al’s balls to the fire, and Al caved in, to one up Kiffin. Al’s still in a legal dispute with Kiffin. It’s far from over. Al will never give up on Russell. But if you think he will, I don’t mind taking your $100.
    ==========================
    When did Russell’s agent hold Al’s balls to the fire?
    You mean the contract?
    Agent had little to nothing to do with it.
    Al was trying to re-write what was acceptable..which no player, or agent on the planet would have ever agreed to.
    Was simply Al, in effect, screwing the team, and organization once again, by putting the #1 pick in a position to basically sit out the year.
    In other words, Al paid the guy 11 million..that first year…TO SIT.

    As far as Kiffin? has little to nothing to do with it. The “cause” isn’t not falling in love with JR, lol…I mean..who cares? All Al stated is “YOU didn’t want JR.”..means nothing.
    The only thing that matters, to Al, is Al saving face between Kiffin and him, and any writers/sportscasters/fans who want to laugh along. No rule says you have to be on board with draft choices.
    No..Al’s sorry weak case is actually even weaker than that, as I recall.
    Regardless, in a court of law, Kiffin not liking, or liking JR won’t ever be brought up.
    Besides, it’s on record, FROM JR, that not only did Kiffin go out of his way to help him, but even after being fired, JR stated Kiffin was still offering him advice on the upcoming game.

    You know..a $100 gift certificate from Cabela’s will suffice. :)

  • NorthernD

    Wow. I just watched that video.
    Cable changed the way he talked when he was speaking to JaMarcus. He was slowing it down.
    He started talking to him like he was a child. As if the words he was saying weren’t getting through to him. Then he asks ” Hey are you listening?”
    That’s very telling.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    From PFT:Former NFL player Greg Skrepenak has resigned as a commissioner in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania amid a government corruption probe.

    The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that Skrepenak signed a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office on Wednesday and that prosecutors will file a criminal complaint against Skrepenak on Friday.

  • snnyjcbs

    I read so many Davis haters comment in the past about what a waste of a spot was on the Raiders team when he was injured. The Raiders were well aware of the player they had in Branch and not just as a special teams player but as a safety as well.

    Prior to the trade deadline it was stated that one of the players other teams contacted the Raiders about the most was Branch. Many will start to jump his bandwagon as they did the Nnamdi bandwagon after trashing him early as well.

    It is now DHB and Mitchell taking the beating from them now as they settle in as players. As soon as they come around these same people will shove their heads up their @#$%^ as well. Just try to find one of those people trashing Nnamdi today, you cannot find a one, what a joke.

  • NorthernD

    Raiders Grief Counselor Albert Bigelow Paine Says:
    December 17th, 2009 at 3:29 pm
    MR, If I am correct about Russel, you have to wear a Raiders track suit, style your hair in a pompadour, and sport some tacky silver rimmed sun glasses. If you win, I will spend a month on this blog sucking up to Beeecham like Herrera does Davis.
    ====================================
    That’s a real bet.

  • http://www.Move2Alameda.com KoolKell

    9. “Well, Rickey’s not one of them, so that’s 49 percent right there.”—Rickey Henderson on reports that 50 percent of ballplayers use steroids.
    —Rickey Henderson: The scholar
    ——————-
    Rickey was too funny.

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    Things I noticed from that video:

    1. Mark Davis looks like he should be working at a gas station;

    2. Tom Cable’s coaching vocabulary is limited to “Let’s go to work”, “Tackle” and “Turn it over” (said like a prayer);

    3. Cable has a female voice during the game;

    4. Cable has no reaction when McFadden gets a huge play, but is very happy to see Fargas get an easy TD set up by McFadden;

    5. Cable has to treat Russell like a little child.

  • CaptainBlack

    Tyvon Branch, Mike Mitchell, Asomougha as Willie Brown, who plays Skip Thomas? I say it’s the Soul Patrol 2010! Good Group

  • Richochet

    Al??? Congrats.

    You’re creating a situation where players very well may WANT to come to the Raiders.

    Playa 1: “Raider?? I don’t want to go to the Raiders..why would I?”

    Playa 2: “Money…big bucks. Hall got 8 million to play 8 GAMES..Javon? Yeah..the ‘spray champagne” guy..he got 12 million FOR 12 RECEPTIONS…remember that sorry Kwame Harris? Guy paid him 6 million when NO ONE WANTED HIM..Tommy Kelly? where the defense actually got WORSE when he was in the lineup? he got a 39 million deal..and the #1 bust of all time Russell just got 33 million to have back to back years as the worst starting qb in the league. Al not only signed Heyward-Bey to 22 million guaranteed, even though Bey was listed as dead last for WR’s, Al STILL let him go out and play…Lechler and Aso? Al could have signed them a year earlier at a LOT LESS, but instead he waited, and had to pay both record contracts…the MAN USES AN ABACUS DURING NEGOTIATIONS…Just sign, and laugh all the way to the bank.”

    Playa 1: “I could pull a Gabril, and question one of Al’s decisions, and he’ll release me?? Cool…this could work.”

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    For all of the shyt talking, we only have one person naming a wager, and that’s Richochet. It’s because you guys know Russell will be starting here next year. Nothing brings people to reality faster than a bet. None of you are willing to bet money that Al will bench or cut Russell, you’re just saying he will because that’s what you’re HOPING he’ll do. I’m telling you he will not. And I’m willing to bet anyone on it.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    How much of the DHB stunted development situation is JaMarcus’s fault?

  • http://none The Real MaddenRaider

    You guys deal in hope, I deal in reality.

  • doriangray

    & why does he look so much like an AVATAR ?

  • RaiderD

    wow…..

  • CaptainBlack

    Madden Raider, what is shakin bacon?

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    The Real MaddenRaider,
    How about no one listens to you for a month? Oh we already ignore you so I’ll have to think of something else.

  • RaiderD

    does that make you feel better, to make fun of a dead guy?

    congratulations you won that fight hands down!

  • http://www.Move2Alameda.com KoolKell

    Exlaraiderseasonticketholder Says:
    December 17th, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    How much of the DHB stunted development situation is JaMarcus’s fault?
    ————————-
    And vice-versa. But Louis Murphy developed, no?

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    My personal rules is to wait at least 24 hours before I make fun of dead people…except Michael Jackson…he was fair game before he was room temperature.

  • Raider E

    I just saw Chris Henry on ESPN say that his life has done a 360 degreeturn. Now doesn’t that mean your right back where you starte? obviously so…Dorians right…Chris is dumb…

  • CaptainBlack

    SnnyJ, there are Al and Herrera haters on this board. Although the local media has tried to harm these men reputations, I have a family member who has worked with John H. and he said John H. is a great guy, just like Al Davis. People have to forget what the local media haters say, including MaddenRaider.

  • RaiderD

    new post

  • CaptainBlack

    Why make fun of a dead guy? Oh, because he can’t fight back. I have a word to decribe a guy like that, but I am too much of a gentleman to call him a puzzy.

  • weaselbit

    Realmadden…nobody’s betting because your a Raider hater and who cares what you say? All you do is trash the Raiders. You should find a team you like and go to their blog, troll.

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  • ohioraider

    Captain Black, you’re one of the few posters still willing to go down with Al’s ship. Al has run the franchise into the ground and there will be no more Super Bowl appearances so long as he’s still running things. This off season, he’s going to bring in a new puppet, er, coach and for the upteenth time tell naive fans like you the following:
    “We’re gonna get this thing turned around.”

    Let’s see a show of hands by those who really believe this. What you don’t understand is that it’s the most devoted fans, who love the team, but hate what this poisonous old megalomaniac has done to it.

    Get it?

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  • Dark Forces

    Has Mike Mitchell even played this year? He’s had almost zero impact from what I can tell.

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