Seasons Greetings and Happy Holidays to all my fellow members of the Silver and Black Pride community! I am pleased to bring to all of you the 15th installment in the series, Talkin' With Tyvon, from Raiders starting strong safety Tyvon Branch.
With a great victory on the road against the Broncos, in which Tyvon played a big part, Tyvon is back again answering our questions with excitement. Tyvon, like many of us, has got the feeling that things with the Raiders are starting to come together now, individually and as a team.
The Community is invited to pose some questions for Tyvon in the comments section and he will do his best to get as many of them answered as quickly as possible:
Hey Raider Nation!! Big Win this past weekend for the team. We executed well and came out with a win. Both offensively and defensively we did some good things. It is always great to beat the Broncos. We head to Cleveland this week and I am sure it will be a battle. They have done some great things the past few games, and we are looking forward to the test. Let's hope some of Raider Nation is there to silence the Dawg Pound. Sorry I was unable to get to the questions last week. I hope to get to them all this week. Go Raiders!
SABP: Congratulations Tyvon for the great win against your arch-rival Broncos in Denver. This game was the 2nd big road victory for the Raiders where the home team was heavily favored. Why do you think that the Raiders have been able this season to beat some of the stronger teams in the league one week, then turn around and lose to teams that, at least by their record are not that good?
TB: That is a great question. Mentally we prepare for every game very similarly, but it is not always executed that way on the field. I would like to be able to tell you, but I really do not know how things like that happen.
SABP: Denver certainly thought they would be able to run the ball on you guys, but then ended the day with only 80 yards rushing, for which you were a big part of that effort with all your tackles. What was the game plan coming in and what do you attribute the success to limiting the run in Denver?
TB: The plan coming in was to keep the running game in check. Putting the offense in tough spots allows us to play different schemes that are more favorable for our defense. That really put some pressure on them and we capitalized.
SABP: The defense is looking now like everyone is trusting each other a lot more than earlier in the season. It seems that the big plays against you guys are starting to be limited and the defense has been particularly tough in the red zone. What do you think is the difference is between the defense earlier in the season and now?
TB: I would say we are really getting more comfortable with each other. We are learning what each person's strengths and weaknesses are and we are able to play to our strengths. I think the more cohesive a unit is, the better they play.
SABP: The Raiders defense was playing with a lot of intensity and as arch-rivals, it's obvious the two teams don't like each other. With that, there were a couple of fights after the play ended, what was going on there?
TB: Oh you know, just some good old smash mouth football jawing back and forth. It is fun to play teams that we have a history with. The fans are more deeply rooted in the history than most of the players, and hearing the stories really gets me fired up.
SABP: You go on the road again for the last time this season too face the Browns in Cleveland. It would be great to maintain the momentum from the Denver game and go back-to-back. What are your keys to facing the Browns and winning two straight for the first time this season?
TB: The Browns have played well the last few weeks. They are a young team starting to pull it together, and they will give us a test. We will need to slow down their running game. Last week they had a big time rusher. After watching the film, we will have to devise a plan to neutralize that. I think if we can constantly get our offense the ball we have a great shot of winning.
Merry Christmas and Go Raiders!!
Thanks Tyvon, good luck in Cleveland and have a Merry Christmas.