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ALAMEDA – This is the second time Brandian Ross will step in and start for an injured Raiders strong safety. He took over last season when Tyvon Branch fractured his fibula in Week 2.
This year, he was Plan C.
Usama Young replaced Branch – he fractured a foot this time – in Week 3, and Ross will step in now that Young is lost with a season-ending knee injury.
“It’s not the ideal scenario because you never like seeing a friend hurt, but I’m prepared for the additional responsibility,” Ross said on Monday. “I have another year under my belt and my experience will help. I’m ready to step up.”
Ross was thrust into heavy duty last season and struggled despite recording 101 tackles, six pass breakups and two sacks. His coverage was lackluster, which forced playmaker Charles Woodson to play deep most of the season, a role that doesn’t fit his strengths.
Ross primarily played cornerback before the 2013 season, but he’s been focusing on safety ever since. The Raiders still deemed him expendable at preseason’s end, and cut him in favor of seventh-round pick Jonathan Dowling.
He was signed to Miami’s practice squad, and brought back to Oakland in Week 4, after Branch got hurt. All the adjustment would seem confusing, but Ross insists he’s better off.
“I wasn’t doing too much this time around,” Ross said. “Last year I was asked to play a lot of different positions and I was asked do things I wasn’t accustomed to doing. My body wasn’t ready for it. Mentally, it was tough. This time around, it’s very simple for me.”