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Branch practiced, but status up in the air

Whether Mike Mitchell makes his first start at strong safety won’t be determined until game day as Tyvon Branch emerged from the locker room after warm-ups and drills and was a limited participant in practice Friday.

Branch, who has started 57 consecutive games, made it to the field after the media window had closed, and coach Dennis Allen was non-specific about how much he was able to do.

Asked if Branch’s participation was a big step forward, Allen said, “It’s a better step forward. It’s better than he didn’t practice.’’

Allen said Branch would be a game-time decision, and Branch, moving deliberately in the Raiders locker room, said, “I’m not sure yet, man. It’s a day-to-day thing right now.’’

Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey did not practice with a hamstring strain and would also be a game-time decision, Allen said.

Running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson (high ankle sprains) and defensive tackle Richard Seymour (hamstring) were all ruled out of the Seattle game.

Mitchell, who has opened seven games in nickel packages but hasn’t started in the base defense, is pulling for Branch but at the same time wants to show what he can do as a starter.

It’s a big challenge in that the New Orleans offense features tight Jimmy Graham, a 6-foot-7 former basketball player out of Miami who has 45 receptions for 533 yards and seven touchdowns and presents a nightmare matchup because he’s too big for defensive backs and too fast for linebackers.

“I haven’t seen anyone get very physical with him yet, as far as DBs,’’ Mitchell said. “Most guys are too small, and they shy away from him. She just bodies them. I’m curious to see how he’s going to handle more of a physical, skill-position guy checking him at the line.’’

Taken in the second round of the 2009 draft, Mitchell remains eager to validate the decision by Al Davis to select him, a choice that astonished some draft analysts who considered him a late-round pick or potential undrafted free agent.

Mitchell has battled injuries at times, played in different defensive packages and on special teams, and looks forward to his first crack at being a full-time player. The presence of Branch, drafted the previous year and a starter for the last 57 games, has kept Mitchell in a supporting role.

“I’m just so ready to be done with this, to show what I can do,’’ Mitchell said. “I’m tired — I feel like I’ve been held back, held back, held back. So if I get the opportunity I just want to go play good football and show the abilities God has blessed me with.’’

Mitchell plays with emotion and reckless abandon. He’s known as a “friendly fire’’ threat among teammates, and Allen is hoping to see Mitchell dial it back just a bit when necessary.

“He’s a very passionate player, he works extremely hard, he loves the game,’’ Allen said. “Sometimes you’ve just got to slow his heartbeat down a little bit and get him to calm down. It’s important to him, and that’s what I like about him.’’

– Allen said Derek Hagan would be the starter if Heyward-Bey can’t play, but that Juron Criner and Rod Streater would also see action along with starter Denarius Moore.

– Defensive line coach Terrell Williams is at the funeral of his son, Tyson, in Florida and is expected to return to the team Monday, Allen said.

Tyson Williams died at age 4 on Nov. 9 at Oakland Children’s Hospital from what the team called a “sudden and unexpected illness.’’

It was a situation for which there was no manual or guide for a rookie head coach.

“You try to keep everybody informed of what’s going on and be there for them in case they need something,’’ Allen said. “You can’t help but have emotions about that. It was a tough situation.’’

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • http://ggeden.blogspot.com/ GG

    #447

    It’s not an excuse the 10am east coast games. We traveled them before and won them. A series of bad coaches or coaching staffs, and room for improvement in player talent, is the cause of it.

    But it’s not an excuse to get hammered every time. Bad preparation, game-planning, and coaching. Bad half-time adjustments. Bad relationships between coaches/players. Bad players or players mailing it in. All or any combination of the above.

    Many teams around the league with less talent than us put up competitive efforts and even wins more frequently, against ‘elite’ teams.

    The key point about what im saying is…if it’s three in a row we get blown apart, the train is off the tracks.

    Remember, we got humiliated by the Buccaneers at home. Not just Ravens away. And we’re playing the Saints at home this third game.

  • GreatWhiteRaider

    don’t tease me?! For real, the Prodigal Son is returning?! If Chucky is back on Sunday that’ll be the greatest thing I’ve heard/seen in a long time! Will definitely be busting out my Nike Pullover and Raider sun visor for Sunday’s game! Marcus Allen earlier in the season, now Chucky…..very classy Mark. Maybe Art Shell as well at some point? Though I suggest we’ll draw the line at Shannahan.

  • http://ggeden.blogspot.com/ GG

    #453

    Mark seems to be putting in an effort to make amends, patch up any bad blood caused by Al. Art Shell would definitely be on the list. Gannon another.

  • GreatWhiteRaider

    #451 – totally agree:
    Many teams around the league with less talent than us put up competitive efforts and even wins more frequently, against ‘elite’ teams.
    ======================================
    I wasn’t quite sure how we’d do this season, but I was hoping that at least if we lose, it’d be in a different way? Raider staples for losing in the new milenia: get shreaded in the run game, STUPID penalties at the WORST possible times. We’ll know when this franchise has turned the corner is when they play an early game in Pittsburgh or Baltimore and are able to go toe to toe with them and fly home with the win.

  • Just Fire Baby

    But it’s not an excuse to get hammered every time.

    **************************

    I agree, the West Coast 10am thing is greatly overstated. Last year WC teams had a winning record in such games, in spite of us going 0-3.

    My point is that it stretches across multiple staffs. From Kiffin to Cable to Hue to DA. Last year we went into a Miami game against a last placed team, and were losing 34-0 going into the 4th Quarter. That was MORE embaressing than last week, IMO, since the Ravens very well could be playing in the Super Bowl later.

    It is going to take more than one offseason with VERY LIMITED RESOURCES, to erase the stench of years past.

    We have no depth, no top-shelf talent, and a bunch of middling players as starters.

    If we played the Ravens in Baltimore, and switched coaching staffs, we would still lose by 20+ no problem.

  • Just Fire Baby

    We’ll know when this franchise has turned the corner is when they play an early game in Pittsburgh or Baltimore and are able to go toe to toe with them and fly home with the win.

    ***************************

    Bring back Bruce!!!!

  • http://ggeden.blogspot.com/ GG

    The stench of years past happened.

    But this new regime is creating its own stench too. They cleaned house, brought in their own structure, and it still stinks to date.

    All expected/concluded that Al was the cause, and any new GM/HC with autonomy would shine a light validating that the Al days were the cause.

    I will not argue the points I made in the last few posts. It’s totally inexcusable these hammerings and soulless games, no matter the timezone, or injuries we’re dealing with.

    Reggie will be here another 2-3 years. DA is under contract 4 years I think. Reasonable expectation they’ll continue for 2-3 years. But just keep in mind if the constant embarrassment continues, hell will be paid.

    FFS, all around the nation and globally, on forums, in offices, blogs, media analysis, etc, the Raiders are being ridiculed big time, laughed at. This is unacceptable.

  • JONGRUDEN2013

    Want my 4 team parley Vegas?

  • Just Fire Baby

    Sure….last week who did you lose on? Falcons?

  • Just Fire Baby

    FFS, all around the nation and globally, on forums, in offices, blogs, media analysis, etc, the Raiders are being ridiculed big time, laughed at. This is unacceptable.

    ************************

    You think the laughing at has just begun or something?

    It has been going on for 10 years. Even last years 8-8 was widely ridiculed for the ridiculous penalty situation.

  • Gdog

    You think the laughing at has just begun or something?

    It has been going on for 10 years. Even last years 8-8 was widely ridiculed for the ridiculous penalty situation.
    >>>>>

    I could handle being the laughing stock if McK had truly just blown up the team and started from scratch. Traded everyone worth anything besides Palmer… and dumped salary with anyone not tradable.

    I wasn’t in favor of this before the season because I thought we were close to being a playoff team… if I had known we would have gotten out-coached in every game besides against Pitts… I’d rather just start over from scratch.

    There would be an excuse for this mess.

  • YoungAmerican

    Chris Steuber ‏@ChrisSteuber

    I’m told scouts from ARI, CIN, DAL, DET, GB, HOU, JAX, MIN, NE, NO, NYJ, OAK, PIT, SEA & TEN will attend #UNC, #Virginia game tonight. #NFL

    Chris Steuber ‏@ChrisSteuber

    I’m told that scouts from #Bucs, #Falcons, #Giants, #Jags, #Panthers, #Raiders & #Vikings will attend #USF, #Miami game on Sat. #CFB #NFL

    Chris Steuber ‏@ChrisSteuber

    I’m told that scouts from the #49ers, #Bucs, #Raiders, #Ravens, #Saints & #Steelers will attend the #Oklahoma, #WVU game on Sat. #CFB #NFL

    ================

    The Raiders scouts will take a look at Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey for the third time this season. OU LT Lane Johnson is also a name to watch.

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    This will be a competitive game. The Raiders don’t usually get blown out 2 weeks in a row.

  • No Mas Diamante

    Reflecting back on another first year coach in the late seventies that a bay area team wanted to run out of town on a rail. he had a tough first year as well but managed to turn things around a bit. … Oh, his name? Bill Walsh… Just chillax everyone. this ship will be righted..

  • Just Fire Baby

    Stedman Bailey is a stud, would be ideal for us.

    Not sure though if he is worth a top 15 pick, and he isn’t lasting into the 3rd round when we pick next.

    Austin might though.

  • Raiders for life

    Any chance Reg trades up to get a QB in the 2013 draft? I’m not sure that he will, Raiders need too much help in other positions.

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    Raiders for life Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Any chance Reg trades up to get a QB in the 2013 draft? I’m not sure that he will, Raiders need too much help in other positions.

    —-
    Reggie seems like the kind of GM who would look for a QB in the 2nd or third round.

  • No Mas Diamante

    QB is not our most pressing need. Ol and defense are more of a need. Ravens won it all with dilfer and carson is much better than him.

  • Try Some Reality

    Raiders for life Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Any chance Reg trades up to get a QB in the 2013 draft? I’m not sure that he will, Raiders need too much help in other positions.

    ======================================

    Reggie is not the type to trade up in the 1st round. Very costly. As he said, he likes his picks. He’s all about value. Besides, QB is the one position playing well for us right now.

  • JONGRUDEN2013

    Last week I went 3 for 4,..lost Niners,..had them -11.5,..sheesh,… tomorrows 4 team parlay is as follows…

    Dallas -7.5
    Green Bay -3.5
    Cinncinnati -2.5
    SF -5.5 (Lock of the week)…. (Jason Campbell)

  • Just Fire Baby

    Bears D isn’t going to give up much more than 10 or so points, though.

    I can see the 49ers winning 10-7.

  • qodrn1

    Happy Heidi Day.

  • JONGRUDEN2013

    For all you walking clueless thinking the Raiders will draft a qb in the 1st round next year…nope,..Palmer is your QB for a minumum of another 4 years,..minimum. So there.

  • JONGRUDEN2013

    I wouldnt have taken the Niners until I saw Cutler was out,..now its a blowout.

  • Raiders for life

    473.JONGRUDEN2013 Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 12:35 pm
    For all you walking clueless thinking the Raiders will draft a qb in the 1st round next year…nope,..Palmer is your QB for a minumum of another 4 years,..minimum. So there.

    ######################

    That is fine with me, like I said earlier…….too many other positions to draft for.

  • raidertalk

    Come on Bruins, I mean er uh Raiders…

  • Try Some Reality

    SF -5.5 (Lock of the week)…. (Jason Campbell)

    ============================================

    Jason is having nightmares of his last start in SF. Ugly.

  • The Mack

    Lmao at the people who compare dennis Allen to bill walsh. Smh He’s no bill walsh, i see more lane kiffin/josh mcdaniels and romeo crennel when i look at this scrub.

  • raidertalk

    I agree no need to draft a Qb in this years Rd1. Oline is a big priority. Running back might be a priority–hopefully we get a bruiser.

  • raidertalk

    17-0 gentlemen!

  • JONGRUDEN2013

    Heres some more truth,..and not to my liking as I want Jon back…but Dennis Allen can go 3-13 this year,..3-13 next year,..jobs still very safe. Im real.

  • Raiders for life

    Totally agree on the O-line. Coops is aging, Brisell has been horrible, Berg’s might not be any good and Barnes is just Barnes.

    I’m thinking if Reg keeps his 1st round pick it will be defense, but I wouldn’t be suprised if he trades the 1st for a 2nd and 3rd or something.

  • http://www.insidebayarea.com/raiders Silverandblack666

    “QB is not our most pressing need. Ol and defense are more of a need. Ravens won it all with dilfer and carson is much better than him.”

    Great Post!

  • Priesttj12

    Just Fire Baby Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 8:14 am
    otherwise they’ll further lose the players

    ***************************

    Good, a way to weed out the quitters.

    That is what this year is all about. Installing two complex systems, seeing who can sink or swin in it, and building on it for years to come.

    Outside of maybe a ST coach, other than Tarver, I don’t think anyone’s job is on the line, yet.

    Of course if we lose by 3 TD’s the next 7 weeks that will change, but that won’t happen. We will win another 3-4 games this season (KC, SD, Car, Clev).
    **********************************************
    Man you are a funny guy, what complex systems??

    Are you really calling the WCO such a complex system that the players can’t adjust and assimlate. Jesus man wake up will ya’. All you have to do is watch the USC vs UCLA game today. Those college players in one season have taken a pro system and are kicking USC in their butts. Great coaches know how to get the best out of their players. Because they don’t ask them to to do things they know they aren’t great at. Look at the QB Hundley an unknown but they are turning him into a great QB using him correctly and so forth.

    Great coaching is very noticable and so is bad coaching……period

  • Priesttj12

    Just Fire Baby Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 8:14 am
    otherwise they’ll further lose the players

    ***************************

    Good, a way to weed out the quitters.

    That is what this year is all about. Installing two complex systems, seeing who can sink or swin in it, and building on it for years to come.

    Outside of maybe a ST coach, other than Tarver, I don’t think anyone’s job is on the line, yet.

    Of course if we lose by 3 TD’s the next 7 weeks that will change, but that won’t happen. We will win another 3-4 games this season (KC, SD, Car, Clev).
    *****************************************
    People who know better know that where Bill Walsh was starting from isn’t even close to where these guys are starting from. Carson Palmer at DMC at RB nice WR’s. Decent defensive personnel. If you saw that crap Bill Walsh had to purge to compare thet two is laughable. I know I was THERE to see it.

  • stablersbeard

    Hey folks…
    If there’s anything to be excited about this year, maybe it’s the fact that maybe the Raiders are seeing what they need to see to finally determine what deadwood to lose and what changes need to be made in terms of loading the roster with football players. Getting rid of workout warriors and combine freaks that don’t produce on the field.
    Most of the best players in the history of the NFL weren’t the best physical specimens. They were tough men who were the best players.
    Just look at Freddy B. sneaking a cigarette on the sidelines.
    Find warriors. The guys who will run through a brick wall because nobody told them they couldn’t.
    Those are the guys we need.

  • Priesttj12

    I used to go to practice at Santa Clara Uni. and they were Pathetic. I also went to many Raider practices and you could see a vast difference until Walsh was able to assemble a staff he wanted and get the talent he wanted. The GM was McVay who engineered that first run of the great players. Walsh didn’t even want Montana he was convinced to take by his QB coach.

  • http://www.GodIsImaginary.com RaiderDuck

    JONGRUDEN2013 Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 12:54 pm
    Heres some more truth,..and not to my liking as I want Jon back…but Dennis Allen can go 3-13 this year,..3-13 next year,..jobs still very safe. Im real.

    =========================================

    This is true. Reggie’s being given a long leash by Mark, and is in turn giving that same leash to DA. Look at it this way: If DA fails, no way can he whine about not being given enough time or authority.

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    Is the site working yet?

  • Priesttj12

    UCLA is presently runnning the exqact same systen we are running now. Not only did DA coach under him but so did Knapp in ATL with Vick and Cable was the Oline coach. It’s the same system.

  • YoungAmerican

    I don’t care about “need”, especially with a 32-year-old QB. I like Palmer and he has played very well this season, but if the Raider scouts look at a guy like Geno Smith or Tyler Wilson and think “this guy can lead an NFL team for the next decade”, you can’t pass on that guy. All comes down to the evaluation process, and you can’t second guess your scouts because of any perceived “need”.

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    YoungAmerican Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 1:38 pm
    I don’t care about “need”, especially with a 32-year-old QB. I like Palmer and he has played very well this season, but if the Raider scouts look at a guy like Geno Smith or Tyler Wilson and think “this guy can lead an NFL team for the next decade”, you can’t pass on that guy. All comes down to the evaluation process, and you can’t second guess your scouts because of any perceived “need”.
    —-
    The Raiders have so many holes to fill. I think they should take advantage of Palmer for a couple of years and try and build up the team at other positions. When I saw Geno Smith against K State, I was not impressed.

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    Who let Kool Kell on stage last night at the Oracle Arena?

  • Charbagrobasticallillipitriciousticrabolobolagrabastic Smith

    I’m all for putting the coaches balls in a nut press until the scream uncle. Then they have to promise they’ll use their playbook in such a manner that it fits player personel and exploits other teams weaknesses. Not some stupid ego scheme. And if they don’t, then grind their nuts some more. And drop the coach speak to.

  • Charbagrobasticallillipitriciousticrabolobolagrabastic Smith

    DA needs to scratch his ass and figure out how to at least show signs of improvement, not a steady piss stream of regression. Lets go DA. Show your nuts.

  • YoungAmerican

    The Raiders have so many holes to fill. I think they should take advantage of Palmer for a couple of years and try and build up the team at other positions. When I saw Geno Smith against K State, I was not impressed.

    ===============

    Geno’s performance certainly has dropped off, but it comes down to what the scouts see and whether or not the coaches think what he CAN do fits the direction they want to go.

    I’m not advocating taking a QB specifically, just taking the best player available at any given position.

  • Charbagrobasticallillipitriciousticrabolobolagrabastic Smith

    Players don’t want to be fed lies. DA needs to put his nuts on the table and tell it like it is.

  • Charbagrobasticallillipitriciousticrabolobolagrabastic Smith

    knapp gets a free pass cuz he aint got no nuts. DA is the head cheese so he’s the one that must please the nut grinder. Saints game will prove if DA and Reg have any balls up their sleeve or is it in fact DA and Reg are nutless to. Show your nuts.

  • Raiders for life

    YA,
    What # pick will Geno get taken?
    Just wondering because I think the Raiders have the #17 for now.

  • RAIDERMAN99

    Just Fire Baby Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 6:59 am
    There is a very good chance that this years team scores more points than last years team, so I see NO REASON Knapp should even be considered to be fired.
    ==================================================
    Jeeeeezus, JFB has lost his mind.

    I’m beginning to think JFB actually stands for Just Freakin’ Blind.

    You really see no reason ?

    How about being dead last in rushing ?

    Let me help you open your eyes…

    Remember the Bed and Breakfast O ?

    The most maddening part of that debacle was that even a casual observer of football realized the Raid O-Line couldn’t pass protect for more than a second to save their lives.

    Yet the Raids insisted on having Andy Walter take 7 step drops and run pass patterns that took forever to develop.

    The result was so predictable, that it was beyond belief that it continued the entire season.

    No adjustments. No quick hits. Just the same crap, over and over. I’m surprised Walter lasted the season.

    Classic case of a staff not making adjustments or putting the players in a position to possibly succeed.

    2012 Krapp O is similar in the respect that it’s obvious the Raid O-line can’t run the ZBS and DMAC doesn’t do well with it – yet your boy Krapp refused to accept this or move away from the ZBS.

    Result ? A once formidable running attack reduced to complete garbage.

    There’s are reasons we’re dead last in rushing, and Krapp is at the top of the culprit list.

    Heck, with Palmer having an off-season to get ready and with a healthy DMAC, we shouldn’t be struggling to match last years scoring output – we should have been blowing it away.

    Can’t believe you can’t see this.

    C’mon man.

    UNR 31 NM 17