MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 20: Tyvon Branch #33 of the Oakland Raiders reacts to being called for unnecessary roughness in the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings on November 23, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
For eleven days beginning on December 18, Qualcomm Stadium, football home of the San Diego Chargers and San Diego State Aztecs, will carry a temporary new moniker: Snapdragon Stadium. Snapdragon processors by Qualcomm are the digital brains inside mobile devices made by top manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Nokia, and HTC. Snapdragon Stadium will host the Chargers-Ravens game on December 18, the Poinsettia Bowl on December 21, and the Holiday Bowl on December 28.
Sorry for the intrusion of that long ad intro I had to put with this post. To help make up for that our fine sponsors are giving away a Samsung Galaxyy S II Skyrocket. I have no idea what that is, but it sounds pretty damn cool. The winner will be selected at random among the people who comment on these posts throughout SB Nation that let everyone know who their core player of is.
I'm going with Tyvon Branch. Branch has gotten better every year he has been with the Raiders. I've never heard him complain, and any of his faults have not been due to a lack of effort.
He is also extremely durable, and that has been a real god-send this year for the Raiders. Defensively, Branch has been asked to play deep, go man against TEs, go man against WRs and play up in the box like a linebacker. And he has done a pretty damn good job at all of those things.
Tyvon's quickness reading plays has made steady improvements. It was as recently as last season, a huge weakness, but he has made huge strides.
He is also now adding kickoff return duties to his resume. Branch returned one kick last week, and looked amazing. He busted off a 70-plus yarder, only to have it called back, and will likely be returning kicks this weekend.
Branch is not a get in your face leader, but he certainly leads by example. He brings it play in and play out, and he does everything the coaches ask of him.
Want a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket powered by Qualcomm's revolutionary Snapdragon multiprocessor? Just leave a comment on this post with who you think the team's core player is and why he's so important to their success. Vox Media will select one winner from among the participating SB Nation blogs. All entries subject to the official rules found here.