Part of the Bay Area News Group

Branch practiced, but status up in the air

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, November 16th, 2012 at 1:31 pm in Oakland Raiders.

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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  • Charbagrobasticallillipitriciousticrabolobolagrabastic Smith

    knapp nut sack swingers need to realize kapp aint got no nutz.

  • RaidersAllday_LtsGeTit

    Forget a Qb Raiders would be crazy to pass up on DE/OLB Demantri Moore from Texas AM leads in sacks and tackles in SEC.. more then clowney n jones and mingo

  • Charbagrobasticallillipitriciousticrabolobolagrabastic Smith

    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.

    0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

    Word!

  • Charbagrobasticallillipitriciousticrabolobolagrabastic Smith

    JaMar Russ gettin the cannon ready for some NFL tryouts. No Bull. Nuts musta dropped.

  • YoungAmerican

    Raiders for life Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 1:56 pm

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

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

    Hard to tell at this point but I see him going Top 10. Even flawed QBs get drafted high if teams see something they can develop. Ponder, Locker, Tannehill, etc..

  • Charbagrobasticallillipitriciousticrabolobolagrabastic Smith

    This blog is messed up. Kinda like the Raider offense. Not nut sack bravado.

  • Try Some Reality

    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.

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

    Exactly. No reason we shouldn’t at least match last year’s record with the current players.

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    Lane Kiffin isn’t a very good coach.

  • Charbagrobasticallillipitriciousticrabolobolagrabastic Smith

    Com’on DA. Show yo nutz!

  • YoungAmerican

    Plenty of very intriguing players for the Raiders to consider with their first-round selection.

    DT Lotulelei
    DT Hankins
    DT Williams
    DT Richardson

    DE Werner
    DE Moore

    LB Te’o
    LB Mosley

    OT Joekel
    OT Matthews
    OT Lewan

    OG Cooper
    OG Warmack

    DE/OLB Jordan
    DE/OLB Thomas

  • YoungAmerican

    Also OLB Greene.

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    Drunk Bills fan ejected from game Thursday found dead in a creek

    http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/8641087/fan-found-dead-being-ejected-buffalo-bills-game

  • JB

    We need a leader on defense. Wheeler has defaulted to that leader but he’s not the right one. We need:

    • Manti Te’o MLB Notre Dame 6-2 255

    McCheese has turned out to be a bust & will be traded or cut at the end of this year. We need a franchise MLB who can become that leader. This guy can get the job done.

    Some have us picking 15-17. Personally, I think we are going to be a lot higher than that. With our schedule and current OC, we can expect to be a top 5 pick. while that in itself is depressing, there are benefits to being a bad team – draft position. Drafting Te’o could have a long term significant benefit to this team.

  • Raiders for life

    If Jabust gets hired and actually makes a comeback, I will……………..naw, it can’t happen. Maybe he’s broke and sober.

  • http://www.GodIsImaginary.com RaiderDuck

    Raiders For Life Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 3:05 pm
    If Jabust gets hired and actually makes a comeback, I will……………..naw, it can’t happen. Maybe he’s broke and sober.

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

    Relax. Nobody’s interested in JaPaycheck. His comments in the SI article pretty much nailed his NFL coffin shut.

  • JB

    What comments?

  • TheModeRaider

    I’d like to see Kevin Greene come in as a Defensive Assistant.

  • Raiders for life

    JB,
    Another MLB in the 1st round?
    If Te’o is as good as advertised I’m all for it.
    McClain is disappointing to say the least.

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    I guess Seymour should just shut it down for the season. He’s gone.

  • RaidersAllday_LtsGeTit

    TEO’ or a Pass rusher

    Stanford Running back needs to be on this team too.

    Tyrann mathieu too.. tell him to stop smoking.. use a 4th roudn on the necca. Randy Moss, Tim linecum they all smoke but he needs to chill.

    Reggie gave Brandon underwood a shot and he was worse then Tyrann. We need playmakers!!!!

  • YoungAmerican

    Stanford Running back needs to be on this team too.

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

    I’m right there with you. That kid is going to be a productive pro.

  • http://www.GodIsImaginary.com RaiderDuck

    JB Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 3:08 pm
    What comments?

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

    The comments where he refused to take responsibility for anything, threw Cable under the bus, and openly mocked the idea of ever playing for the CFL as part of a comeback. He literally expected some NFL to just call him up and say “Come to our Training Camp.” Wrong.

  • http://www.GodIsImaginary.com RaiderDuck

    *some NFL team

  • Raiders for life

    Robbie Rousse RB Fresno ST.
    Small but fast, no ball security issues
    No injury issues.

    250 yards last week against Nevada.

  • VaRaiderNation

    Whats up Nation. lmao at a japorkus comeback. What a piece of garbage. I believe we will be drafting in the top 10 in the upcoming draft. This team has so many holes to fill. MLB, DE, DT, CB, FS, and OT come to mind. Will there be any good FAs at any of these spots available in the offseason? With all of these issues I still believe a solid corner should be at the top of any draft board if there are no good FAs to bring in. Don’t really follow cfb so I don’t know who the prospects are. Just so tired of watching this team attempt to play defense…I think Baltimore wouldve put up 55 even if we had 22 guys out there playing D.

  • Gdog

    The favorite whipping boy here, Seymour, seems to be more appreciated by PFF:

    …quote…

    The surprisingly excellent linebacker Philip Wheeler had a day to forget last week. He made our ‘Had a Bad Day’ Team, but still has managed a solid +8.2 grade on the year, good for second on the defense behind Richard Seymour.

    …end quote….

    https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2012/11/16/3tfo-saints-raiders-week-11/

  • TheModeRaider

    Jake Long (MIA) – OT
    Ryan Clady (DEN) – OT
    Branden Albert (KC) – OT
    Sebastian Vollmer (NE) – OT
    Andre Smith (CIN) – OT
    Sam Baker (ATL) – OT

    Can we lure any of these free agents to The Raiders?

  • YoungAmerican

    Doubt the Raiders will bring any big-name FAs in. Probably just depth guys. I like Frank Omiyale – can provide much-needed depth at everything but LT and C.

    I also think the Raiders should get James Sanders in free agency to provide depth at FS. Borderline starter, but an upgrade if they want to keep Huff at CB.

  • VaRaiderNation

    TheModeRaider Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 3:33 pm
    Jake Long (MIA) – OT
    Ryan Clady (DEN) – OT
    Branden Albert (KC) – OT
    Sebastian Vollmer (NE) – OT
    Andre Smith (CIN) – OT
    Sam Baker (ATL) – OT

    Can we lure any of these free agents to The Raiders?
    ________

    I certainly hope so. Especially Jake Long, he would be a HUGE addition to our line. Can’t imagine the fish letting him go, though.

  • Priesttj12

    Jim Mora Jr. is turning UCLA into a national power…..that young frosh QB is no joke at 6’4″ 225 with that arm and athleticism they will be very tough to deal with.

    Hi didn’t come worried that the cupboard was bar he jsut took what he had and added to it and kicked some butt. He made no excuses and that’s why they’re Pac12 South winners.

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    Do you have a link to this story about Russell’s comeback?

  • VaRaiderNation

    YA I think Huff is much better at corner than he ever was at safety. With the experience gained from this season and a full offseason at the position, he could be a solid #2 corner for us. I think he’s the best corner on the team right now.

  • http://www.GodIsImaginary.com RaiderDuck

    Albert Bigelow Paine Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 3:38 pm
    Do you have a link to this story about Russell’s comeback?

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

    You mean the one from last October, or what whats-his-face was referring to earlier? I think that dude was talking out his rear end.

  • Just Fire Baby

    RM99,

    Forgot the Knapp talk, how about the Lobo’s going 50 rushes, 2 passes (2 incompletions LOL) today?

    And still hanging in the game without completing a pass?

  • YoungAmerican

    I think he’s the best corner on the team right now.

    ————

    Definitely, which surprised the hell out of me.

    Would like to see the Raiders add to that position in the draft, but I have a feeling the front seven will be their priority for now. Cary Williams might be a nice budget FA pickup.

  • Raiders for life

    JaMarcus Russell @JaCantonRussell 3h
    Any1 want to run some routes? Gotta few tryouts next week and need to set the sights on the cannon.

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

    This is all I’ve seen.

  • Just Fire Baby

    That Anthony Barr for UCLA is a complete IDENTICAL prospect to Jason Taylor.

    He even looks like him on the field. Long neck sticking out, very angular. Elite pass-rusher who used to be an offensive player.

    Wouldn’t mind someone like that coming off the edge for us next year.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Hundley is a very cerebal QB, like his future.

    Arm-strength needs to improve, but he is 19 so it should. There were a few times UCLA WR’s seemed to be waiting for the ball to get there.

    Lots of pro’s on that UCLA team though. Hundley, Franklin, Barr, I liked that Hester #21 as a future safety maybe, the McDonald kid, Shaq at WR, the Feiora kid at TE.

    That team is absolutely loaded.

  • VaRaiderNation

    Raiders for life Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 3:42 pm
    JaMarcus Russell @JaCantonRussell 3h
    Any1 want to run some routes? Gotta few tryouts next week and need to set the sights on the cannon.

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

    This is all I’ve seen.
    _________

    JaCanton??? lol gtfoh jamarcus! that’s the funniest sh!t I’ve ever read.

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    Raiders For Life Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 3:42 pm
    JaMarcus Russell @JaCantonRussell 3h
    Any1 want to run some routes? Gotta few tryouts next week and need to set the sights on the cannon.

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

    This is all I’ve seen.
    —–
    That’s nor Jamarcus. This his twitter.

    https://twitter.com/RealJRock2

  • TheModeRaider

    Could we make a list of players that The Raiders should take a look at in the upcoming draft? Make a list, vote for our favorites and email it to them.

    Maybe they’ll take a look at it?
    Maybe they’ll delete it?

    If we are right, we can send them the list again and say,”I told you so!”

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    According to Russell’s twitter feed, he has been taking classes at LSU.

    BTW, Philip Rivers’ brother is in the game for LSU.

  • VaRaiderNation

    Definitely, which surprised the hell out of me.

    Would like to see the Raiders add to that position in the draft, but I have a feeling the front seven will be their priority for now. Cary Williams might be a nice budget FA pickup.
    __________

    Isn’t Ike Taylor going to be a FA next year?

  • http://www.GodIsImaginary.com RaiderDuck

    VaRaiderNation Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 3:46 pm
    Raiders for life Says:
    November 17th, 2012 at 3:42 pm
    JaMarcus Russell @JaCantonRussell 3h
    Any1 want to run some routes? Gotta few tryouts next week and need to set the sights on the cannon.

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

    This is all I’ve seen.
    _________

    JaCanton??? lol gtfoh jamarcus! that’s the funniest sh!t I’ve ever read.

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

    JaPaycheck’s real Twitter name is @RealJRock2 . This other one is BS.

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    Yikes, Stephen Rivers is uglier than his brother:

    http://www.lsusports.net/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=5200&ATCLID=205087915

  • Just Fire Baby

    Who’s got the list saved on willing to go to back and look at Rockstar’s mock draft wish list from this year?

    My pick was Casey Hayward for GB, and he might win DROY.

  • TheModeRaider

    Baking 101

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    Phillips’ brother is a freshman. Maybe Reggie will draft him in a few years.

  • Raiders for life

    Reggie needs to find the next Von Miller.

  • RaidersAllday_LtsGeTit

    Phillips who’s brother?