Tyvon Branch Says Things In Oakland Are Different This Year and the Defense Is Looking to Redeem Itself

The fact that Al Davis won’t be around in Oakland isn’t the only thing that will be different for the Raiders in 2012 and beyond. After yet another disappointing season and another season where Oakland ended up watching the playoffs from home, the Raiders brought in a whole new regime. Reggie McKenzie was brought over from Green Bay to serve as the team’s new General Manager and his first hire of a head coach was former Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. While Allen’s hiring didn’t capture a lot of headlines, it looks like it was the right hire for the Raiders and for want they want to be.

A season ago, the Raiders gave up over 27 points per game and were one of the worst defensive teams in the NFL. If they want to re-commit to excellence it has to start with an attitude change and a toughness that has been lacking the last few seasons. Perhaps Allen can change that. Dennis Allen joined 95.7 the Fan in San Francisco with John Lund to talk about how the new players look, if Dennis Allen is paying more attention to the defensive side of the ball because of his background, whether a long-term deal will get done after getting franchised this offseason, on the struggles on defense a season ago and how different things are with all the changes.

On how the new players look:

“Everybody is looking good. I’m excited. We’ve got a new defense, guys are out there making plays, been attacking the ball and I’m excited about it.”

If Dennis Allen is paying more attention to the defensive side of the ball because of his background:

“He’s been keeping an eye on both sides but he’s a defensive minded coach so he’s been paying a little more attention to us I think. It’s hard to get a gauge on it. Today was my first day of OTA’s so it’s hard for me to get a gauge on him. He’s a good coach and it seems like he knows what he’s doing.”

Whether he would like to get a long-term deal done after getting franchised:

“I hope so. I try to stay out of that. That’s what I’ve got my agent for. I’m just focusing on the football side of things so I hope something gets worked out but if not, it’s a business and I understand that. I’m just here to make plays and win games.”

On how bad the defense was a season ago:

“We struggled so we definitely want to go out there and redeem ourselves. We have some new guys in here and it’s a whole new year. We can’t dwell on last year, we just have to stay focused and push forward. Everybody buy into this new defense and we have to go out there and execute.”

On how different things are now with the passing of Al Davis:

“It’s definitely different. I’m not going to say it’s better or worse but it’s definitely different and these guys have us running a lot more and the tempo of practice is a little faster so it’s definitely different. (Host: How different is it off-the-field and around the facility without Al Davis?) It’s a little different. Like I said all new coaches. I don’t think it’s just the passing of Mr. Davis. I think it’s the whole new coaching staff and everything changing from top to bottom, even new strengths coaches. It’s just a different feel in the whole building.”

Philip Rivers on Potentially Reuniting with LaDainian Tomlinson: “I wouldn’t have any objection to it whatsoever.”

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