Tyvon Branch, strong safety of the Oakland Raiders, worth $9.5 million, is out indefinitely after a leg injury in Sunday’s victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Branch is suffering from what is believed to be a fibia fracture. Branch has been a huge asset to the Raiders’ defense and fans are concerned this loss will prove exponentially worse for Oakland.
Usama Young and Brandian Ross replaced Branch in the Jacksonville game, and coach Dennis Allen now has a tough decision to make. Does he move Charles Woodson from free safety to strong safety and have Young start at free safety? Does he keep Woodson at free safety and start Ross at strong safety? Or should he mix and match throughout the game depending on each player’s stronger points?
I think at this point his best choice would be to keep Woodson at free safety and rotate between Ross and Young at strong safety. Losing one player is going to have bad enough repercussions for the Raiders, let alone moving another player (Woodson) from a position he has demonstrated impressive skill in to a different one.
After Woodson’s performance in the game against Jacksonville, I think he has proven he deserves the position of free safety. Ross and Young have both been training for strong safety, in the event that this issue should arise. I think rotating them at the strong safety position would be the best choice. This way, the rest of the team only has to acclimate to one position change rather than two.
No doubt, the loss of Tyvon Branch will have an effect on the Raiders, as they are matched up against the Denver Broncos for Monday Night Football. However, it also gives Brandian Ross and Usama Young a chance to prove their talent and broaden the spectrum of player choices for the strong safety position.