Part of the Bay Area News Group

Branch still out, Mitchell prepares for first start

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, November 16th, 2012 at 11:42 am in Oakland Raiders.

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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  • MiamiRaider78

    Who is this guy with the tits we keep talking about? LOL

  • RaiderDebo

    dr_robert Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:07 pm
    RaiderDebo Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 12:59 pm
    J Hill Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 12:25 pm
    Burris and Wheeler????

    Are you confusing activity for achievment?
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Thank you. A common mistake by a lot of dudes on this board. They see a guy running around with his hair flying all over the place and conjure up dreams of Polamalu or something without a shred of that kind of production. Phillp Wheeler is an undersized try-hard guy that wouldn’t start for another team in the NFL.

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

    ridiculous. they make plays. have u been watching? wheeler is on pace for 120 tackles. not paying attention to measurable stats allows for people to see whatever they want to see without any proof or accountability.

    wanna say palmer sucks regardless of his yardage totals? feel free. who can argue with u? wanna say mcclain is a stud, regardless of his lack of tackles? why not? no proof otherwise.

    watch the games. wheeler and burris get after it. if we had more like them, we would be good. good thing ur not involved with making any personnel decisions
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Same goes for Palmer. Stats pumped up by failed comeback attempts mean absolutely nothing to me.

  • JONTRAIN

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

    Agree 100%. I’ve never understood the facination with Branch’s game. Was going to skip the game vs. watching Brees and company shred our D at home. But now, I’ll be interested to see how MM fares.

    #####

    And I hope I wake up in the morning with Halle Berry sitting on my face as Scarlet Johannsen rides cowgirl, whilst Kerry Washington and Kate Upton suck on my toes.

    You guys are dreaming. MM has never made a play in this league. That’s not gonna magically change overnight.

  • dr_robert

    and kirk morrison was a scapegoat. he was pretty good. it was howard that sucked. LOL. tackles are a meaningless stat. that’s a good one.

  • J Hill

    watch the games.

    ————————————————————

    I swear to GOD this is the absolute STUPIDEST comment EVER made on this board.

    Getting after it????

    LOL

    Again, activity does not = achievement.

    Branch, Wheeler, and Burris certainly “get after it”.

    How does that translate on the field though? Can’t cover ANY TEs. Zone awareness is terrible.

    Same with Branch.

    Hustlers, or shall we say guys who get after it, who stink!

  • RaiderDebo

    dr_robert Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:14 pm
    RaiderDebo Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    This is the problem. 120 tackles??? Are you serious?? Please tell me why this matters at all with this defense. The definition of a meaningless stat. Phillip Wheeler is Kirk Morrison 2.0.

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

    why do tackles matter? did u watch the bucs game? sure woulda been nice if someone was tackling the rb who was sprinting to the endzone. u see, in football, the defense needs to tackle the opposing ball carrier? lol. for crying out loud. why do tackles matter for a linebacker? did u just ask me that? what do u want a linebacker to do? NOT tackle people?
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Would’ve liked to see Wheeler make a few that day. How about you?

  • rediaR

    I’d trade a 2nd round pick to have Knapp run the Denver offense for 5 years.

  • dr_robert

    raiderdebo—wow. so palmer’s yardage, the ONLY thing moving our offense, doesn’t count and wheeler’s team leading tackling doesn’t count. who exactly in your mind is playing well for the raiders? anyone?

  • http://ggeden.blogspot.com/ GG

    Mark Fugged Up

    That’s the news headline for the 2012 season and beyond. It all started with him and has rolled downhill since.

    1. Fired Hue in spit of Reggie ‘perhaps’ happy to keep him on as HC and give him another year, if that rumor is true.

    2. Reggie firing all the scouts and making nepotistic hires, completely turning over a lot of the working parts when not necessary, putting his buddies and twin on the gravy train, not hiring or rehiring the right people people per se.

    3. Hiring Dennis Allen. No one would’ve hired Dennis Allen YET. These young up-comer coordinators often go thru the cycle of HC job interviews for a few years before they get hired. He needed a wiser more experienced HC for that bridge period of 2-3 years.

    4. Allowing a rookie HC to make all his own hires.

    5. Dennis Allen for hiring Greg Knapp, firing a lot of the good position and assistant coaches already in place. Who’ve now gone on to greener pastures.

    6. Knapp bringing with him Pollack, and the departure of Wisniewski as OL coach.

    7. Pollack bringing with him Brisiel.

    8. Reggie playing fantasy football with his transactions, signing scrubs he scouted 1-3 years ago while at the Packers, who are nothing but scrubs and have remained scrubs since.

    9. Reggie sitting on his hands as his HC and OC systematically turned this team backwards.

    10. Dennis Allen sitting on his hands, not making drastic coaching staff changes.

    11. The whole situation we’re now in…where Reggie/Dennis/Knapp resist change because they don’t want to give the impression to anyone they made mistakes, thus out only to save their jobs, stay on an NFL payroll.

  • Marks hair

    Wow mac20 you sound just like i did several games ago.. Remember? I said that this defense is terrible and that there’s no way we can compete for a playoff spot… And you called me a troll and told me how great our defense was and that I needed to watch the Atlanta game again??

    Yeah.. i was right. Thanks for catching up..

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    if your talking about guys being over achievers that will only take you so far at some point you need talent.

    if its wheeler or burris, or fargas or harvey williams for that matter. a locker room fool of feel good stories doesnt always equal winning football.

  • dr_robert

    J Hill Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:15 pm
    watch the games.

    ————————————————————

    I swear to GOD this is the absolute STUPIDEST comment EVER made on this board.

    Getting after it????

    LOL

    Again, activity does not = achievement.

    Branch, Wheeler, and Burris certainly “get after it”.

    How does that translate on the field though? Can’t cover ANY TEs. Zone awareness is terrible.

    Same with Branch.

    Hustlers, or shall we say guys who get after it, who stink!

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

    good Lord. saying to watch the games is the stupidest comment u ever heard on this board? wow. LOL. guys who get after it and make tackles are the ones who stink. yep. i’m in the twilight zone.

  • RaiderDebo

    dr_robert Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:17 pm
    raiderdebo—wow. so palmer’s yardage, the ONLY thing moving our offense, doesn’t count and wheeler’s team leading tackling doesn’t count. who exactly in your mind is playing well for the raiders? anyone?
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Nobody is playing well!! That’s why we’re losing! Get it???

  • RAIDERMAN99

    Got news for you McFadden20 -

    Averaging 2 points a game less than last year is huge.

    In a league where teams average 22 pts per game, and the difference between winning and losing is RAZOR THIN – a 10% drop in scoring is huge.

    But it’s not just that scoring is dowm…

    It’s the complete ABSENCE of a running game.

    Can’t run the ball, get behind in down and distance, can’t convert 3rd downs.

    Krapp’s O sux.

  • dr_robert

    RaiderDebo Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:16 pm
    dr_robert Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:14 pm
    RaiderDebo Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    This is the problem. 120 tackles??? Are you serious?? Please tell me why this matters at all with this defense. The definition of a meaningless stat. Phillip Wheeler is Kirk Morrison 2.0.

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

    why do tackles matter? did u watch the bucs game? sure woulda been nice if someone was tackling the rb who was sprinting to the endzone. u see, in football, the defense needs to tackle the opposing ball carrier? lol. for crying out loud. why do tackles matter for a linebacker? did u just ask me that? what do u want a linebacker to do? NOT tackle people?
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Would’ve liked to see Wheeler make a few that day. How about you?
    ****************

    a strong side linebacker isn’t gonna make plays on runs up the gut. did u ever play football? even on a grass field with a few friends?

  • JONTRAIN

    @GG

    On this blog, you might get banned for making so much sense.

    It’s frustrating to know this and watch it all unfold as the season progresses

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    JONTRAIN Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:15 pm

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

    Agree 100%. I’ve never understood the facination with Branch’s game. Was going to skip the game vs. watching Brees and company shred our D at home. But now, I’ll be interested to see how MM fares.

    #####

    And I hope I wake up in the morning with Halle Berry sitting on my face as Scarlet Johannsen rides cowgirl, whilst Kerry Washington and Kate Upton suck on my toes.

    You guys are dreaming. MM has never made a play in this league. That’s not gonna magically change overnight.
    =========

    I am excited to see what he can do starting at ss which we have not seen yet in his career.

    Nothing wrong with hoping he will outplay branch, he will prove or disprove his worth on the field

  • RaiderDebo

    Mistic1 Tha Supavillain Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    if its wheeler or burris, or fargas or harvey williams for that matter. a locker room fool of feel good stories doesnt always equal winning football.

    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Pretty much never does. Kind of liked Harvey though.

  • J Hill

    Kirk Morrison???

    LMFAO

    The guy who didn’t start another game once he left Oak?

    The same way Debo says Wheeler wouldn’t start for another team???

    Can you guys please give us an example of a guy going somewhere else and actually doing well?

    Routt, Campbell, Bush, Morrison, DVD ????

    Tom Howard was starting and BALLING for Cincy this year, but he stunk here???

    LOLOLOLOL

  • dr_robert

    Mistic1 Tha Supavillain Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:18 pm
    if your talking about guys being over achievers that will only take you so far at some point you need talent.

    if its wheeler or burris, or fargas or harvey williams for that matter. a locker room fool of feel good stories doesnt always equal winning football.
    **************

    ok. well good players who hustle and make plays. yeah, i’ll take a team full of them. so tell me who u think is playing well.

  • RaidersAllday_LtsGeTit

    I knew something was fishy when Reggie fired all these scouts and long time guys and brought in that guy Joey Clicksdale to be director of football operations.

    Also thought it was fishy the way Raiders didnt even interview another GM.. Mark was just told by Madden and Ron wolf basically what to do.

    Why was Wolf so insistant on Reggie, was it maybe so his son Eliot could get a promotion?

  • MiamiRaider78

    Can’t believe we spent a 2nd rd pick on M.M34

    Max Unger
    Andy Levitre
    Lesean McCoy
    Paul Kruger
    Shonn Greene

    Players picked up after M.M

  • J Hill

    Mark Fugged Up

    ————————————————————

    Family dynamics, mayne.

    Obviously, Mark hated his dad and we are now stuck with the fallout.

  • dr_robert

    RaiderDebo Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:19 pm
    dr_robert Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:17 pm
    raiderdebo—wow. so palmer’s yardage, the ONLY thing moving our offense, doesn’t count and wheeler’s team leading tackling doesn’t count. who exactly in your mind is playing well for the raiders? anyone?
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Nobody is playing well!! That’s why we’re losing! Get it???

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

    lol. a blanket statement that requires no ability to make a judgement. they’re losing, therefore they all suck. well done sir. well done.

  • RaidersAllday_LtsGeTit

    DA will be gone in 2 years and it will be rinse in repeat.

    He is no different then Lane kiffin only a defense of guy that has ZERO IMPACT on the defense. Ties his coaching gig to LANE KIFFIN.

    AL wouldnt let DA through the facility let alone 3 miles from it.

  • RAIDERMAN99

    So no one here is going to step to the plate and defend Tits ?

    Where the heck is JFB ?

    Gotta love JFB. Sticks with Slo. Wants Krapp back for 2013.

    That’s a man of conviction.

  • J Hill

    saying to watch the games is the stupidest comment u ever heard on this board?

    ————————————————————

    OBVIOUSLY

    EVERYONE

    HERE

    WATCHES

    THE

    GAMES

  • RaidersAllday_LtsGeTit

    DA ties his coaching gig to Gregg NAPP like Lance Kiffin did.

  • Mistic1 Tha Supavillain

    Nobody cares what the differnce in poionts scored is with regards to hu jack vs d.a

    the only stat that truly counts for a head coach is wins and losses

    hu jack went 8-8

    if d.a finishes with 4-5 wins for the year it says he did not do as good a job.

    hu jack was canned for what happened off the field, like the trade, and throwing players and coaches under the bus and openly criticizing the front office.

    D.A should be fired fro his terrible on the field product

    for the record i was one of the first way back in the off season to predict the low win total.

    most people killed me for it screaming it wasnt a rebuild like mac20, sb666, lofty, jfb and others

    the palmer trade and subsequent events including the firing of hu jack sealed the end of our upswing and set us back to bottom feeders.

  • http://ggeden.blogspot.com/ GG

    JONTRAIN Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    @GG

    On this blog, you might get banned for making so much sense.

    It’s frustrating to know this and watch it all unfold as the season progresses

    lol. it’s hard sometimes because people have sides they stick to. but the truth is there, it’s objective and in flux. those who want to adhere to a particular side of a debate wont see the truth adhering to a side.

  • rediaR

    MiamiRaider78 Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:22 pm
    Can’t believe we spent a 2nd rd pick on M.M34

    Max Unger
    Andy Levitre
    Lesean McCoy
    Paul Kruger
    Shonn Greene

    Players picked up after M.M
    ————————————-
    You put Shonn Greene on that list? Really?

  • Kirk

    Dennis Allen and Greg Knapp are idiots.

    I’m sorry, but they are clueless.

  • dr_robert

    J Hill Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Tom Howard was starting and BALLING for Cincy this year, but he stunk here???

    LOLOLOLOL

    *********

    this is great:

    thomas howard’s tackle totals:

    2006 oak 110
    2007 oak 95
    2008 oak 97
    2009 oak 79
    2010 cin 99
    2011 cin 3.

    yes, he was BALLING. based on…………what exactly? ur OPINION? that’s why stats count. they keep people from making ridiculous claims with no PROOF.

  • JONTRAIN

    How can anyone defend DA?

    He’s made exactly one improvement: less penalties.

    Run defense is slighlty improved maybe.

    We’ve regressed everywhere else.

    We were 8-8 2 years in a row now we are back to being bottom feeders. That falls on Davis/RMac/ DA

  • dr_robert

    J Hill Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:25 pm
    saying to watch the games is the stupidest comment u ever heard on this board?

    ————————————————————

    OBVIOUSLY

    EVERYONE

    HERE

    WATCHES

    THE

    GAMES

    ******************
    NOT

    VERY

    CLOSELY

    APPARENTLY

  • MiamiRaider78

    rediaR Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:27 pm
    MiamiRaider78 Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:22 pm
    Can’t believe we spent a 2nd rd pick on M.M34

    Max Unger
    Andy Levitre
    Lesean McCoy
    Paul Kruger
    Shonn Greene

    Players picked up after M.M
    ————————————-
    You put Shonn Greene on that list? Really?
    _________

    Wasn’t he good for a few games? lol

  • RAIDERMAN99

    So no one here is satisfied with Tits or thinks he’s doing a good job ?

    That’s a good sign.

  • RaiderDebo

    dr_robert Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:23 pm
    RaiderDebo Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:19 pm
    dr_robert Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:17 pm
    raiderdebo—wow. so palmer’s yardage, the ONLY thing moving our offense, doesn’t count and wheeler’s team leading tackling doesn’t count. who exactly in your mind is playing well for the raiders? anyone?
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Nobody is playing well!! That’s why we’re losing! Get it???

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

    lol. a blanket statement that requires no ability to make a judgement. they’re losing, therefore they all suck. well done sir. well done.
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    When a team sucks, how well can anyone really be playing? Especially on our defense which somehow is worse than it was last year? The only guy that I’ll continue to stump for is Mike Huff. I don’t think there’s another saftey in the league that could line up at corner and play Roddy White like he did.

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    Proof that total numbers of tackles is a bit overrated. The Raiders have more tackles this season than the Bears do. Wheeler has more tackles than both Urlacher and Lance Briggs.

  • J Hill

    so tell me who u think is playing well.

    —————————————————————

    Houston
    Bryant
    Huff
    Palmer
    DHB
    Myers
    Moore
    Streater
    Reece
    Ausberry

    These guys have been consistant, imo.

  • RaidersAllday_LtsGeTit

    DENNIS ALLEN needs to pull a Bobby Petrino.. leave and resign in the middle of the season.. middle of the night.. and take his talents back to Portland State.

    Take Greg Napp too

  • http://raiders.com Albert Bigelow Paine

    RAIDERMAN99 Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:28 pm
    So no one here is satisfied with Tits or thinks he’s doing a good job ?

    That’s a good sign.
    ——
    It’s too early to tell. If they finish 3-13, he should probably be fired.

  • rediaR

    MiamiRaider78 Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:28 pm
    rediaR Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:27 pm
    MiamiRaider78 Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:22 pm
    Can’t believe we spent a 2nd rd pick on M.M34

    Max Unger
    Andy Levitre
    Lesean McCoy
    Paul Kruger
    Shonn Greene

    Players picked up after M.M
    ————————————-
    You put Shonn Greene on that list? Really?
    _________

    Wasn’t he good for a few games? lol
    —————————-
    Maybe a couple. But the Jets fans are surely making similar lists for Greene’s pick.

  • JONTRAIN

    The only thing that can save this season is Carson going off on Knapp… T.O. style.

    Well maybe it wouldn’t save our season but I think it would give many in here a measure of satisfaction

  • MiamiRaider78

    I stoop up for DA earlier on in the season but it’s not justifiable to support a coach who’s team regresses during the season instead of improving…even slight improvements.

  • J Hill

    ur OPINION? that’s why stats count. they keep people from making ridiculous claims with no PROOF.

    ————————————————————

    Care to post Kirk Morrsion’s stats???

    Where is your “proof” that Morrison was a scapeoat?

    I guess that was YOUR “opinion”, eh?

    I guess we all have one.

  • MiamiRaider78

    Stood*

  • RAIDERMAN99

    No one here going to put out the ‘it takes more than a year’, ‘it’s not fair’ or ‘if we fire Tits, who will want to come here’ nonsense ?

    I’m encouraged.

  • http://ggeden.blogspot.com/ GG

    RaidersAllday_LtsGeTit Says:
    November 16th, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    I knew something was fishy when Reggie fired all these scouts and long time guys and brought in that guy Joey Clicksdale to be director of football operations.

    Also thought it was fishy the way Raiders didnt even interview another GM.. Mark was just told by Madden and Ron wolf basically what to do.

    Why was Wolf so insistant on Reggie, was it maybe so his son Eliot could get a promotion?

    —–

    a very good question.

    at the time i trusted wolf’s advise, but mark fugged up not interviewing anyone else.

    i think madden merely advised mark to speak to ron wolf and stepped away. and ron wolf (and mark herron?) made the advise to hire reggie (he possibly was only thinking of seeing his son promoted).

  • MiamiRaider78

    I will not let this football team ruin my Sundays anymore.