By JL Herrera
The Oakland Raiders will have to move on without their highest paid player, safety Tyvon Branch, due to a fractured fibula from Sunday night’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Oakland.
Branch suffered the fracture during the first quarter, when the safety rushed Jacksonville’s quarterback Chad Henne on a third down play. He was removed for the rest of the game and subbed by Brandian Ross and Usama Young, both of whom played very well in Branch’s absence.
Unfortunately, Branch was one of the few defenders resigned from the secondary by the Raiders that had any experience, and he’s proven to be worth every penny up until Sunday’s accident.
Coach Dennis Allen has not disclosed how long Branch will be out, but he did specify that it will be be a while.
One thing’s for sure: Tyvon Branch will be out for Monday night’s game against the high-scoring Denver Broncos, and that could be very costly for the Raiders.
The Silver and Black face one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos, and Branch’s absence will be greatly missed.
Tyvon Branch has been a big part of the Raiders passing defense, which has been one of the strongest units for Oakland. His absence could make a difference unless subs Ross or Young step up and do swell job just like they did against the Jaguars.
On the other hand, Young and Ross were up against the Jaguars, which is nothing compared to the aerial game of the Broncos.
The Denver Broncos are specialized in winning this season with massive points, and most of those points came from passing touchdowns. That means that Peyton Manning is responsible for those specific touchdowns.
The best part of the Raiders was their passing defense. It would have been interesting to see the Raiders best unit while fully equipped against Peyton and his receiving boys.
With Branch out, the Raiders lack a vital player, and things could change. The Raiders are at least changing up the package in the passing defense to face and stop the Broncos aerial game.
Still, confidence should be high for the Raiders. Oakland still has veteran Charles Woodson with Tracy Porter, who will be facing his old team this Monday. Do not forget that DJ Hayden has been carrying his own weight back there, too.
Additionally, the Oakland Raiders will go up against a Denver defense that is not nearly as perfect as its offense. The Raiders will provide a heavy dosage of Darren McFadden and Terrelle Pryor that should be quite devastating to Denver.
So far, the Colts and the Jaguars did not really have a solution for the McFadden-Pryor dosage. Yes, the Raiders lost to the Colts, but it was because the Raiders made a few costly mistakes, not because the Colts really won.
In the end, the Oakland Raiders will have to find a way to replace the missing piece that is Branch. With the back ups and other cornerbacks, the Raiders should do OK as long as they play perfectly without mistakes.
For more Raiders news and updates, visit Raiders Central.
J.L. Herrera is a huge fan of football and has been following the Raiders since the 1980s during the LA era. J.L. is also a freelance writer and copywriter on the web. He taught English for a little more than a decade in Los Angeles at the secondary level. While writing for web based news outlets, J.L. enjoys reading, creative writing, and watching sports. His work can be found on Examiner.com.