For whatever its worth, Vic Tafur points out that Mike Mitchell has been on the field for the start of seven games in his brief career in Silver and Black. Of course the only reason he was on the field to start those seven contests was because the Raiders opened those games in nickel packages meaning Mitchell was the extra defensive called into action.
So if Tyvon Branch is unable to go Sunday then Mitchell will record his first official start as he’ll be on field no matter the package. He’ll also see the most extensive action in his now fourth season in Oakland.
Mitchell he isn’t shy about saying that this opportunity is long overdue. Plenty of members of Raider Nation would agree.
Mitchell arrived in Oakland with the reputation of being a hard hitter that was expected to help resurrect the Raider ways of old. Injuries, inconsistent play and a lack of opportunities have held Mitchell back but come Sunday he could be unleashed for the best chance he’s had to shine as a pro.
But that will have to wait until Sunday to be determined. Branch and his sore neck were able to practice Friday meaning nothing will be decided on his status until game day. Either way Mitchell is preparing for extended action.
“I’m just so ready to … show what I can do. I’m tired. I feel like I’ve been held back, held back, held back, so if I get the opportunity, I just want to go play good football and show the abilities God has blessed me with.”
Plenty of us have also been waiting for a long time to see if Mitchell can become the playmaking safety Al Davis envisioned when he took him in the second round of the ’09 draft to the shock of most everyone. Mitchell has had some memorable moments but has never firmly established himself as a reliable player in the pros. Sunday he could get the chance and even if his time with Oakland is over after this season all he needs to do is look to former teammate and current New York Giant Stevie Brown to know that every Sunday provides the chance to audition for a job in this league.