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Branch still out, Mitchell prepares for first start

Mike Mitchell inched closer to his first start as Raiders strong safety Friday when Tyvon Branch missed practice with a neck injury.

Also not practicing as warm-ups and drills gave way to team sessions were running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson (high ankle sprains), defensive tackle Richard Seymour (hamstring) and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring).

Coach Dennis Allen said regarding Branch on Thursday he’d have “some real concern’’ if he weren’t able to practice the following day.

Mitchell, in his fourth season out of Ohio, has been on the field seven times at the start of games when the Raiders opened in a nickel defense, but never as a starting strong safety in the base defense.

“Obviously, it’s a goal of mine to be a starter in this league and to play,’’ Mitchell said. “I welcome the opportunity. It’s unfortunate, what’s going on with Tyvon. You never want one of your brothers to get hurt, but I’m willing to play.’’

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.’’

– If Heyward-Bey can’t play, it means more snaps for Rod Streater, Derek Hagan and Juron Criner.

– Assuming Seymour is out, Desmond Howard will draw his second straight start at defensive tackle alongside Tommy Kelly.

– Marcel Reece will open at running back with McFadden and Goodson out, backed up by Jeremy Stewart, with Owen Schmitt playing fullback in formations that call for it.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • DMAC

    1 Nation

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    DMAC Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 11:42 am
    Albert Bigelow Paine Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Anyone going to see Twilight tonight?
    =========

    Still haven’t seen any Twilights.
    I do want to check out that 007.
    ——
    I just checked Quantum of Solace at the library. I need to see that before I see Skyfall.

  • DMAC

    3 sacks maybe???

  • http://www.GodIsImaginary.com RaiderDuck

    Don’t forget to hoard Twinkies…

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    At least we get to see if Mike Mitchell can play or not.

  • DMAC

    Missile Mike!!!!!!!!!

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    I may have to pick up Streater this week in FF.

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

    667 neighbor of the beast!

  • DMAC

    This game may determine MM’s future w/ the Raiders.

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

    “Don’t forget to hoard Twinkies…”

    LOL

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    Silverandblack666 Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 11:47 am
    “Don’t forget to hoard Twinkies…”

    LOL
    ——
    Have you seen Zombieland?

  • Kirk

    We are doomed.

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    I’m still going with my prediction.

    Raiders 41
    Saints 35

  • http://www.GodIsImaginary.com RaiderDuck

    Albert Bigelow Paine Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 11:47 am
    Silverandblack666 Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 11:47 am
    “Don’t forget to hoard Twinkies…”

    LOL
    ——
    Have you seen Zombieland?

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

    Good movie. I was think more of Hostess going out of business though…

  • http://www.GodIsImaginary.com RaiderDuck

    Kirk Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 11:49 am
    We are doomed.

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

    A national Twinkie shortage may well seal the deal.

  • http://ggeden.blogspot.com/ GG

    It’s a lie that Taiwan isn’t seeing more snaps because he’s fumbling a lot in practice.

    The real reason is because Taiwan ad-libs, like Marcus Allen’s SB TD. Knapp wont play him because he wants a RB to just laboriously batter the ball up into the designed play. If the line is getting blown up, and you’re going to get stuffed for a 1 yard gain, doesn’t matter, follow the design.

    Taiwan in his rookie year, under Hue/Saunders, got 16 carries for 73 yards and ZERO fumbles. Hue/Saunders managed to get Taiwan action. Knapp is laboriously uncreative and doesn’t know how to get all the young players game experience to develop them along.

    Taiwan has gone backwards this year ONLY in the sense of not seeing any significant playing time. Not in talent or ability.

    And consider that Adams is constantly fumbling the ball in LIVE games yet gets a free pass every week. It’s all lies. Allen and Knapp’s handling of the Taiwan vs Adams situation is how they will be undone.

  • hwnrdr

    Nooo…twinkies are the only thing that survives a nuclear war!!! LOL

  • ottocrat

    “…SHE just bodies them.” Nice typo, Jerry! Trying to get Mitchell killed.

  • Orthodoxdj

    First off, this is good for evaluation purposes. but the chances of winning this game are slim.

    Second, Cork said Desmond Howard is going to start at DT. That’s funny.

  • Raidergil650

    with a bullet

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    RaiderDuck Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 11:52 am
    Albert Bigelow Paine Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 11:47 am
    Silverandblack666 Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 11:47 am
    “Don’t forget to hoard Twinkies…”

    LOL
    ——
    Have you seen Zombieland?

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

    Good movie. I was think more of Hostess going out of business though…
    —–
    Remember, Woodie Harrelson’s character spends the whole movie trying to find Twinkies. He keeps finding Snow Balls.

  • Al_is_theraiders

    dont try to talk sense into quack, he cannot see how bad this staff is handling the players….

  • Orthodoxdj

    Excuse me, it was Jerry who said Desmond Howard will play.

  • Raidergil650

    Albert Bigelow Paine Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 11:50 am
    I’m still going with my prediction.

    Raiders 41
    Saints 35

    i like it!!!!!

  • http://www.GodIsImaginary.com RaiderDuck

    GG Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 11:53 am
    It’s a lie that Taiwan isn’t seeing more snaps because he’s fumbling a lot in practice.

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

    And what is your evidence that Taiwan’s not fumbling in practice? Are you at these practices? If you’re relying on someone who IS at these practices, then please supply a link to their observations.

  • http://ggeden.blogspot.com/ GG

    “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.’’

    ——

    That’s exactly what’s happening with some other players. Leads to frustration, internal problems. Especially when after a number of humiliating losses, for the coaches to NOT try to change things up by giving some other players a chance, a window to prove they’re better starters.

    Mitchell, Taiwan, Pryor, Chekwa…

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    Even though they are bad, at least this Raider team is a lot more entertaining than the Jamarcus years.

  • Al_is_theraiders

    whats your evidence he is fumbling? krapp? danus allen?

  • Orthodoxdj

    I agree with many of the comments about the scheme and the play-calling, but the reality is that it’s hard to give a true assessment of either this early. In a year or two it will be clear.

  • http://ggeden.blogspot.com/ GG

    Taiwan is not fumbling the ball in practice like Knapp says. Taiwan has never fumbled the ball in live games in his two years of game time. One exception the fake punt this year. Meanwhile, McFadden has fumbled the ball a lot in practice and in LIVE games, (he had like 14 fumbles in his first three seasons), and that never stopped anyone from starting him. Adams continues to fumble the ball in practice and live games and gets a free pass, gets Allen putting an arm around him for encouragement.

    Ask Jerry on twitter.

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    RaiderDuck Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 11:55 am
    GG Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 11:53 am
    It’s a lie that Taiwan isn’t seeing more snaps because he’s fumbling a lot in practice.

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

    And what is your evidence that Taiwan’s not fumbling in practice? Are you at these practices? If you’re relying on someone who IS at these practices, then please supply a link to their observations.
    —-
    GG is Mark Davis’ personal barber.

  • http://www.GodIsImaginary.com RaiderDuck

    Al_is_theraiders Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 11:59 am
    whats your evidence he is fumbling? krapp? danus allen?

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

    Comments by the Offensive Coordinator who sees Taiwan every day in practice.

  • boss01

    boss01 Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    GG Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 11:51 am

    It’s a lie that Taiwan isn’t seeing more snaps because he’s fumbling a lot in practice.

    The real reason is because Taiwan ad-libs, like Marcus Allen’s SB TD. Knapp wont play him because he wants a RB to just laboriously batter the ball up into the designed play. If the line is getting blown up, and you’re going to get stuffed for a 1 yard gain, doesn’t matter, follow the design.

    Taiwan in his rookie year, under Hue/Saunders, got 16 carries for 73 yards and ZERO fumbles. Hue/Saunders managed to get Taiwan action. Knapp is laboriously uncreative and doesn’t know how to get all the young players game experience to develop them along.

    Taiwan has gone backwards this year ONLY in the sense of not seeing any significant playing time. Not in talent or ability.

    ——————

    If Al was still around…He would rip the coaching staff a new one for not coaching up TJ and making him great.

    Under this current coaching staff, I have not seen any improvement from any players that were here last year. Quite the contrary, everyone except for maybe D Moore have regressed. That speaks to coaching ineptness.

  • JLofty

    3X4!!!!!!!

  • JLofty

    @27: truedat

  • Scourge

    MiamiRaider78 Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 9:08 am
    Today is a happy day.
    =============

    Congrats MR78!!!!!

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    How has Denarius Moore regressed.

    2011, 33 catches 618 yards 5 TDs in 10 games started
    2012, 34 catches 575 yards 5 TDs in 8 games started

  • http://ggeden.blogspot.com/ GG

    It’s not fumbling but assignment.
    Taiwan tries to make something happen if the running lanes close down.
    Knapp wants the RB to continue the assignment, to “execute” the play as designed.

  • Scourge

    hwnrdr Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Nooo…twinkies are the only thing that survives a nuclear war!!! LOL
    ==============

    Nope…….cockroaches too.

    And Cher!!!!

  • Al_is_theraiders

    you believe krapp? oh quack cmon man…the guy who is an incurable disease to offenses? the word offensive takes offense to it being used to describe krappy…

  • boss01

    How has Denarius Moore regressed.

    2011, 33 catches 618 yards 5 TDs in 10 games started
    2012, 34 catches 575 yards 5 TDs in 8 games started

    —-

    I stated everyone except him have regressed. I don’t include CP because he is about what he always was.

  • J Hill

    It just makes ZERO sense to say that teams keep good players on the bench.

    Why on earth would they keep Taiwan Jones on the bench if he could actually play???

    You seriously think these guys would rather lose their way?

    Jones looks scared as shyytt TO ME every time he takes the ball. And I was certainly looking forward to him balling this year.

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    Boss01 Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 12:10 pm
    How has Denarius Moore regressed.

    2011, 33 catches 618 yards 5 TDs in 10 games started
    2012, 34 catches 575 yards 5 TDs in 8 games started

    —-

    I stated everyone except him have regressed. I don’t include CP because he is about what he always was.
    ——-
    Sorry, other guys have said he has regressed this year.

  • http://ggeden.blogspot.com/ GG

    Knapp-huggers, watch this week, when Stewart looks slow and unexplosive, 8 for 15 yards, and/or fumbles a ball or two.

    He will continue to be back-up next week behind Reece.

    When Adams muffs another punt, he will continue to get the job during the game and next week.

    Taiwan held back, not given an opportunity in either role.

    Knapp tipped his hand already anyway….he likes Reece as starting RB because it gives him a game-planning “edge”, will he carry it, will he go out like a WR. And Stewart is more of a short-yardage back. Reece-Stewart is like a McFadden-Bush concept. The elusive back backed up by the power back. Taiwan is more of the elusive starting back, not an elusive back to back up an elusive back.

  • http://www.GodIsImaginary.com RaiderDuck

    GG Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 12:08 pm
    It’s not fumbling but assignment.
    Taiwan tries to make something happen if the running lanes close down.
    Knapp wants the RB to continue the assignment, to “execute” the play as designed.

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

    1) Knapp’s explicitly saying Taiwan is fumbling in practice.

    2) The ZBS relies on the running back doing exactly as he’s told. He needs to run the plays as they’re being dictated.

  • Al_is_theraiders

    yes…that is what dennis allen, krapp and reggie are doing…they want to show the world al had it wrong….proof is in the pudding though…

  • DMAC

    This fk’n day is moving 2 slooooooooow
    Me wanna go home already
    :(

  • http://ggeden.blogspot.com/ GG

    That’s why Knapp sucks as an OC. He’s far too regimented and everything fits into little boxes in his world. Things must be followed to the letter, he gives his whole mind/life over to “the system”. System > players. Not utilizing players for their abilities and tailoring a system around them.

    It took 7 weeks and resistance from players to get PBS worked into it.

    One thing about Hue…soon as he walked in as OC, he asked his players what they like, what works for them, and with Saunders tailored stuff around them. As an OC a Hue type > Knapp.

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    Al_is_theraiders Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 12:16 pm
    yes…that is what dennis allen, krapp and reggie are doing…they want to show the world al had it wrong….proof is in the pudding though…
    —–
    Congratulations, you win the award for stupidest post of the day.

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Im really looking forward ti missle mike getting the crack at the ss position.

    I never thought branch was very good and wanted to see mike lay the wood to wrs in tyhe middle and near the line. i also think mm34 is good on blitzes and he will now give me a reason to watch on sunday. There are very few players on this team that i enjoy watching. DHB DMO Dmac, reece and tp6.

    Obviously only DMo seems to be getting a steady diet of action on sundays, so mm34 playing will at least breath life into an otherwise dead and dreadfully dull season.

    Branch stinks out loud, and we havnt had a good physical saftey since eddie anderson, or perhaps our brief run with eric turner.

    I hope MM34 plays well and unseats branch all together, and we can trade branch for something