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

Matt Williams wants Bryce Harper to stop getting ejected

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Larry Lucchino stepping down as Red Sox CEO

Las Vegas Mob Museum to open FIFA corruption exhibit

Does NFL have a motive to settle with Tom Brady?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Big Ten coaches opposed to 9-game conference schedule

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Hill arrested for reckless driving, clocked going 107 mph

Diamondbacks GM: Padres wanted Goldschmidt for Kimbrel

'Rowdy' Roddy Piper dead at 61

Mets acquire Yoenis Cespedes from Tigers

Report: 7-foot Aussie center to join Kentucky's 2015 class

Eagles trade CB Brandon Boykin to Steelers

Jack Del Rio: Crabtree ‘stood out’ at first Raiders camp practice

Browns owner: ‘We haven’t given up on Johnny Manziel’

Junior Seau’s daughter will speak at Hall of Fame induction

Golden State Warriors: the rich get richer

NFL, Brady could settle to avoid appeal documents going public

Miguel Herrera apologizes for costly Philly airport fight

Russell Wilson contract $60 million guaranteed? Not so fast

Bernard Pollard backs Tom Brady, disagrees with suspension

Cardale Jones continues to show love toward Ronda Rousey

Joseph Randle on Steven Jackson: ‘He’s at home watching’

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

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Pirates do Pirates at deadline: Neat little moves

Mets acquire Cespedes from Tigers

Ranking the NFL’s 32 head coaches

Five worst baseball trades since 2000

Examining the state of the NFL

Puig: Broke out of slump by playing baseball video games

Braves dump risk, exchange it for risk

David Price traded to Blue Jays

The indefensible Hulk Hogan

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