Oakland Raiders starting strong safety Tyvon Branch is one of the best players on the Raiders defense, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter has some dreadful news to report. Per Schefter, Tyvon Branch has suffered a “significant” injury that is believed to be a fractured fibula, and Schefter adds that Branch is out “indefinitely”.
The Raiders are already missing arguably their best player on offense with left tackle Jared Veldheer on the short-term injured reserve, and Branch’s injury is a crippling blow for the Raiders on the defensive side of the ball. Branch is a key playmaker, and he’s such an asset for this defense. He’s one of those physical strong safeties who also has the ability to cover tight ends, and I’ll always remember him as the one guy who shut down Rob Gronkowski one-on-one; that was impressive.
Without a timetable, it’s difficult to evaluate Branch’s injury impact for the Oakland Raiders, other than simply writing “big”. Branch recorded over 100 tackles in each of the past three seasons, and he’s a solid starting safety who is an imposing presence in the secondary. What is really impressive about Branch is also his ability to be an excellent run-stuffer, and the Raiders can only hope that he’ll be back as soon as possible. Could he miss the entire regular season? That would be the worst-case scenario at this point.
While former Cleveland Browns safety Usama Young clearly isn’t as good as Tyvon Branch, he’s a dependable veteran backup and should be a nice replacement while Branch is on the shelf. Although Young isn’t as much of an all-around playmaker at safety as Branch is, he is a decent safety in his own right and should be able to hold his own out there. He isn’t an ideal starter, but he gave the Raiders great depth at safety as the third man behind Charles Woodson and Branch.