Greetings Silver And Black Pride and all of Raider Nation! The 2010 NFL season is very soon upon us and with great excitement I am pleased to bring back an SABP regular feature, Talkin' With Tyvon, with Raiders starting safety Tyvon Branch. With the Raiders preparing to play in their first preseason game on Thursday in Dallas, I interviewed Tyvon for his thoughts on the start of training camp and kicking off the 2010 NFL season.
Tyvon is really interested in interacting with Raider Nation and in addition to asking questions of Tyvon here, you can also find out more of what is going on with Tyvon by following him on his twitter page @tyvonbranch as well as his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/tyvonbranch
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:
HELLLOOOO Raider Fans!!! It is great to be back chatting with you all. I hope each and every one of you is as excited for 2010 as me and the guys are. We are looking for big things this year, and I hope you all feel the same. It is a new start and a new season. The attitude around Raiders camp is top notch. When everyone is excited, that gets me more pumped up to go out and just play football….here’s to a great 2010 season!!!
TRW: First off, how is camp going for you personally, as far as the goals you set for yourself and the things that you wanted to work on during the OTA’s until now?
TB: I am feeling good. My body is healthy, and my strength is up. The overall morale of the team is at a level that I have not seen since I have been here. We just feel good. Personally, my main goal is to go out and win games. Talk to me in 20 weeks, and I will let you know how that is going.
TRW: With the recent loss of The Assassin Jack Tatum to the Raider family, several Raiders have mentioned how Jack inspired them in the way they play. Did you ever have a chance to meet Jack and anything you can tell us about how Jack has inspired you?
TB: Jack was an amazing football player. The tenacity he played with on the field inspired his teammates. I look to model my game after someone of his ability and passion for what he did. Everyone in the NFL is talented, but to be able to inspire you teammates and make plays on the field that can change the outcome of the game is something I strive for.
TRW: Hue Jackson is very vocal and seems to be having quite an effect not only on the offense but the defense as well. From your vantage point, what can you tell us about how Hue has had an effect on the overall team?
TB: You said it with your first sentence. He is a very vocal guy, and his football knowledge is amazing. Everyone on this team can learn from him. Offensively he has a great track record; he has some ties to Coach Cable so they work well together. I am looking forward to watching him call a game.
TRW: There are lots of new faces on the squad this year, especially the rookies coming from the draft. Which rookies, offense and defense, have stood out to you so far or have impressed?
TB: Obviously Rolando is a beast. He is a smart football player with size. Coming into the NFL, I think learning the system is the hardest thing. Rolando has picked it up well, and I think he will be a great addition to this team. Offensively, I think I am not real in tuned to how they perform in individual drills, but as far as first year players go – Jason Campbell is looking very sharp.
TRW: Speaking of the rookies, any training camp stories you can tell us about what the veterans have done to indoctrinate the rooks to the NFL?
TB: Nothing I can tell on here that wouldn’t get me fined! Haha…no, I’m kidding. It has been a pretty calm camp. The usual stuff is going on, but I can tell you that no one has their hair shaved in a halo around here!
TRW: I imagine in practice you are getting a lot of work in covering Zach Miller. With that in mind, covering Zach in practice must really help you in dealing with the leagues other top tight ends in games?
TB: Definitely. Zach seems to have gotten a step better since last year and his hands have always been great. Going after a guy like that everyday really keeps me at the top of my game. I am always getting better because of Zach.
TRW: Thursday the 12th, the Raiders head down to Dallas to take on the Cowboys for the first preseason game. I sure for you, your looking forward to hitting someone else, but what are you looking for out of this first game?
TB: First off we want everyone to stay healthy. Then we look for situation type stuff for us to practice-two minute drill, goal line, 3rd down…things of that nature. Winning and losing is not the important part, it is getting the assignments right and making good decisions…but when all this happens, we win. So I guess that is also something we want to do!.
Let’s keep it up Raider fans!!!!!
Thanks Tyvon and good luck down in Dallas.