OAKLAND – Tyvon Branch will be out a while. Exactly how long remains uncertain. Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said the ankle injury Branch suffered during Sunday’s 19-9 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Oakland Coliseum was “significant.”
[INSTANT REPLAY: Raiders down Jaguars for first win of season]
In Allen-speak, that means big trouble.
“We’ll know more tomorrow,” Allen said.
Branch hurt himself in pass coverage during the first quarter. He was on the ground in significant pain and couldn’t reach the sideline under his own power. He was examined on the sideline, taken into the locker room and a return was quickly ruled out.
The loss is a big one, but Branch plays a position with tremendous depth. Brandian Ross is the reserve strong safety, but Usama Young can play there too. In a pinch, Charles Woodson can move over and play there and Young can play free safety.
“We’ve said from the very beginning that we feel good about our safeties and our depth at the position,” Allen said. “We have some quality players there, and when one guy goes down, another one has to step up. We’ll look for guys like Usama Young and Brandian Ross to play more often and play well.”
It’s still tough for the Raiders because Branch is well liked in the locker room, and a leader on defense.
“I talked to him at the half, and it’s tough because Tyvon is a great player,” Young said. “You never want to see one of your own go down. He’s been playing at a high level for a while. We’ll talk to him tonight. Hopefully it’s not too, too bad.”