Oakland Raiders strong safety Tyvon Branch was given the franchise tag by the team in the offseason. Now that he has signed the tender, ensuring he will be a member of the Raiders in 2012, he is looking to take his play and leadership to the next level.
“I feel comfortable here,” Branch said after Oakland's second OTAs. “I thought of myself as a leader before the tag so I'm just going to try to elevate my game and lead by example. With the new defense we got, it will give us a lot more opportunities to make plays.”
Both the Raiders and Branch are looking to take the next step in contract talks and agree on a long term deal. Branch was drafted out of Connecticut in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft and has started all 16 games the last three seasons. The 6-0, 205 pound strong safety led the team in tackles last season with 109. Because of that production, new Raiders head coach Dennis Allen likes what he sees from Branch.
“The way that he plays the game with the spee...