Oakland Raiders safety Mike Mitchell (photo by Levi Damien)
Raiders safety Mike Mitchell needs to see some game action soon. He is feeling like a dog chained up in the backyard. He wants to hit somebody but the problem is the only people in his backyard are his own teammates.
He had been injured all offseason leading up to training camp and now he is playing with the kind of reckless abandon we have come to expect from the fourth year safety. Usually it's the second team who catches the brunt of his fury but today, Tyvon Branch was out with back spasms, Mitchell got his chance to run with the first team. The result was a bit scary.
"Tyvon went down today and I stepped in and got a pick." Said Mitchell. "I'm ready at all times, man. I honestly think the reason I got hurt was God was teaching me patience. I want everything my way and I want it right now. Tomorrow can't come fast enough for me, as my dad always says. It's good for me to get through that and teach me a little bit of patience, now when my opportunity comes, I'm ready."
First of all, he tackled tight end Brandon Myers and Myers didn't get up. He was eventually escorted off the field with an injured shoulder. The prognosis is not yet known.
"I'm a young guy and I feel like I've got a lot to prove." Said Mitchell. "I do have a lot to prove. I always have that competitiveness that I want to make every play that I can make, but I'm still learning to be a professional. That is, keeping everybody up, staying off the ground. There was a play today, Brandon Myers, one of my best friends on the team, just competing, kind of fell on his arm a little bit. I hope he's going to be OK. I still gotta learn it's practice and try to avoid those things."
His enthusiasm and his tendency to hit too hard in practice has the offensive coaches over-cautious whenever he is in the area of their prized possessions.
"Coach Knapp, definitely, every time. He lets other guys go tag the quarterback, don't say nothing. I get within three yards and he says, `stay away from the quarterback'. I don't know what's going on. I'm just trying to make enough plays to stay on the team, man... I'm just trying to bring my A-game and just try and push those guys to keep getting better. And I think you all do a good job of that."
Mitchell was flying around the field today making plays. He had a pass defended as well as an interception on a tipped ball by Rolando McClain from Carson Palmer. And yet it seemed every time he made a good play, he was getting an earful from his coaches.
"Don't cut back." Said Mitchell of what Dennis Allen told him after his interception. "I was tired, too. So I probably shouldn't have cut back. I saw the O-line, they were over-pursuing. I was a running back in high school, a good running back, you can look it up, I was averaging 10.6 yards per carry. I mean I got my scrapbook at the house. I'll tweet a picture of it. But I saw the whole line overpursuing, I was like, wow, this is too easy. I cut back, and he told me, I gotta do the drill right, run on the numbers."
For Mitchell, Monday can't come soon enough. And for the offensive players he faces in practice it cant come soon enough either.
"They're going to let the chains off Monday night." Said Mitchell. "I can't wait, because no one is going to be telling me to do this, that and the other. The chains are off I just get to go play ball."