Oakland Raiders strong safety Tyvon Branch has played in just two games this season due to a severe leg injury, and it doesn’t sound like he’s going to be making his return this week. After being ruled out of last week’s game when there was initially some hope that he would play, ESPN NFL Nation’s Paul Gutierrez reports that the Raiders have listed Branch doubtful for tomorrow’s rivalry game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Branch’s doubtful listing means that he is basically a lock to miss tomorrow’s game, and I’m honestly surprised that the Raiders didn’t place him on the injured reserve in the first place. There’s really no point carrying him on the active roster, and while they should have placed him on the injured reserve earlier this year, it’s never too late. The Raiders are out of playoff contention, and carrying Branch hurts his roster flexibility and could prevent him from being 100% next season.
What complicates things for the Raiders, though, is the fact that Branch is one of the team’s best players on defense, and he is undoubtedly better than current starting strong safety (Usama Young also suffered an injury) Brandian Ross. Hopefully Branch can continue to make progress in his recovery, but I think the Raiders should just give him the rest of the year off.