Myself along with other members of the media had a conference call with Raiders safety Tyvon Branch Wednesday afternoon. The standout safety recently signed a 4-year deal to stay with the team. Here is what he had to say:
How important was it for you to get the deal worked out before you got to camp?
"It was one of those things I felt was important but it wasn't a distraction. I already signed my tender I already got back to work. I knew I was going to be part of the team so I wasn't really worried about it."
How confident were you that a deal would get done?
"I hoped that a deal would get done, you know. I love the Raiders, it's a great organization. I think we're headed in the right direction and I wanted to be a part of it. So I wanted to get a deal done so I'm excited about it."
Did it enter your mind your mind at all that signing a new deal would bring the Raiders cap number down so they could sign free agents?
"I knew that it kind of would help the cap but, you know, I play football, I let my agent do all the other stuff. I let him communicate with the front office guys, him and Reggie. I decided to focus on my end of things and that's playing football, working out, and staying in shape."
Did having a long term deal give you more peace of mind?
"Yeah, definitely, it gives you that stability, you know you're gonna be around the organization the next couple years so it definitely gives you more peace of mind. It's just one of those things you don't have to worry about anymore. You know where you're gonna be."
You had a good year last year, how much better can you get in the coming years here?
"I think that sky's the limit as long as you work hard and put forth the effort you wanna become great, I think sky's the limit. So I'm just gonna keep working and hopefully improve my game."
How much do you think the new defense is going to help you out personally?
"I think it's gonna help the team out. It gives a lot of different looks, you know. It mixes things up and keeps guys guessing so I think it's gonna help the team out."
Do you compare yourself to any of the top safeties in the game?
"You know, I don't really focus on that. I focus on what I'm doing here, what's going to help our team get better and what roles I need to play in order for our team to get better. That's all I focus on. Different safeties have different roles in different defenses so it's hard to compare yourself to different players on different teams."
Was there a point during the process where you felt like it was going to get done?
"I really didn't have a hand or a role in it. My agent played the biggest part in it and he kept telling me that conversations were very friendly and that he felt it would be done."
What are your personal goals for this season?
"I don't really have any personal goals. I just want to win, man. Whatever it takes to win. I'm all about winning, that's the most important stat and whatever it's gonna take to get us in the big dance. We want to be part of the tournament this year, into the playoffs so whatever it takes to get there."