All of the new players added by the Oakland Raiders for the 2014 season has sprung a sense of excitement for the team. During their Organized Team Activities, the players have really brought into that sense of optimism. That feeling is especially apparent on the defensive side of the ball. Leaders of the defense like strong safety Tyvon Branch believe in this group.
“Talent-wise, there’s a lot of winners on our defense; a lot of guys that have had a lot of success,” Branch said. “Guys like [Justin] Tuck and [LaMarr] Woodley. There’s a lot of great defensive players out there, so one of the most talented defenses, I can definitely say that.”
Now talking about it in June is different than showing it in September and December, but there is a different feeling for the upcoming season. The Raiders have rebuilt this defense by adding proven winners and experienced veterans. That has developed a sense of confidence. The players who have trudged through the previous two 4-12 seasons are far more confident that this year the team will be better.
“We have guys at every position that has had a lot of success in this league,” Branch said. “The more leaders you can get, the better, obviously.”
Leadership has been another overwhelming theme coming from Raiders' camp. The team feels like that will be a massive part of their success. Another massive part of the defense's success will be a healthy Tyvon Branch. Branch missed 14 games last season with a fractured fibula. He has been working without issue during the OTAs. He is such a big part of the defense because of his ability to control the back end and come up and punish at the line of scrimmage. He also possesses the right attitude to help this team turn it around and begin to win in 2014.
“I go out there every game with the mentality of, ‘Let’s win,’” Branch said. “That doesn’t change whether we’re 12-0 or 1-12, I’m going to go out there with the same mentality of ‘Let’s go out there and get this W.’ Every team I’ve played on so far, I went into the season thinking the sky’s the limit for us.”
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