Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 6/3/12
4d

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 speed, the effort, the tenacity,” Allen said. “He enjoys playing the game of football, as well as he is as good an athlete as you could hope for. So I think, with our safeties, we’ve got pretty good athletes that we can do a lot with.”

In the offseason the Raiders brought in two new cornerbacks in Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer, who along with second year man DeMarcus Van ****, will see plenty of playing time. Branch and his teammates will have to acclimate to a new defense this upcoming season with the safeties making all the defensive calls and providing leadership to the entire defense. Allen believes Branch can succeed in the leadership role.

“I think it’s still new for Tyvon,” Allen said. “He hasn’t been here a long time, but he’s developing everyday. Again, just like everything else, I want to see him take one step at a time in that leadership role and see if he can get better and better at that every day.”

Even though the Raiders have many new pieces at cornerback for the 2012 season, the safety position will be a strength for the team. Led by Branch and his continued progression, the Raiders boast one of the best safety tandems in the league. Alongside Branch, starting free safety Michael Huff played well last season and back-ups Mike Mitchell and Matt Giordano add quality depth.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

var switchTo5x=true; stLight.options({publisher:''});

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Odell Beckham Jr. is not intimidated of Darrelle Revis

Chargers say Seahawks DE took cheap shot at Philip Rivers

Rex Ryan jabs Jets for passing on Martavis Bryant?

Jay Gruden backing down from support of RG3 as starter

Ukwuachu rape victim hires firm that prosecuted Winston

Leo Santa Cruz tops Abner Mares in slugfest

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: Beckham makes great grab over Revis

SEC commissioner wrote classy note to injured Arkansas RB

John Daly taken to hospital after collapsing on course

Rex Ryan keeping Bills' starting quarterback a secret

Braves fan dies after falling from upper deck

Randall Cobb suffers shoulder injury vs. Eagles

South Carolina to honor Charleston shooting victims with sticker

Cuban baseball player sleeps outside Dodger Stadium

NFL trying to determine if receiving gloves are too sticky

WATCH: Rams cheerleader surprised by military husband

WATCH: John Harbaugh berates sideline reporter at halftime

WATCH: Ricardo Mayorga taunts Shane Mosley in ring, loses

Will Jimmer Fredette find success with Spurs?

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

American Pharoah upset at Travers Stakes

Steve Smith joins family in stands after getting ejected from game

WATCH: Cordarrelle Patterson rips off 107-yard return TD

Steve Sarkisian giving up most of USC's playcalling duties

Animal shelter cancels fundraiser at Heinz Field

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

Fantasy football round-by-round draft strategy

Ronda Rousey's Carl’s Jr. ad

The WWE Divas Revolution is getting ugly

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

The Opening Drive: What happened to all the great Michigan tailbacks?

The 1980s Lakers represent the NBA’s ultimate creation story

The Orioles’ frustrating season

Five greatest NBA players of all-time

Finding signs of life for the Red Sox

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker