Safety Karl Joseph
Throughout his football career, people have looked at Karl Joseph as a big hitter.
When teammates, coaches, and pundits alike discuss the second-year safety, most typically – and correctly – describe his game with the same handful of adjectives: aggressive, jarring, violent, and explosive, just to name a few.
However, in 2017, Joseph wants you to know that he's more than just a big-hitting safety who lays the lumber.
"I don't want to just be known as a big hitter," said Joseph. "I know I'm a playmaker. I feel like I can play all over the field; that's something I feel like I'm going to show this year. I have a chip on my shoulder. I feel like I have a lot to prove. I want to win, so I want to help our team win however I can. Whether that's making big plays or getting my hands on the ball, I want to show I'm a playmaker. I want to show that I'm one of the best on the field, so whenever I'm out there that's what I have to prove."
The fact remains that big hits are part of his game; Joseph himself says "that's who I am," he just doesn't want to be seen as a one-trick pony patrolling the back end of the Raiders defense. That being said, don't expect No. 42 to change his game at all in 2017 and beyond; look no further than his preseason debut Saturday night against the Arizona Cardinals for evidence of just that.
Like most of the Raiders defensive starters, Joseph played sparingly in the preseason opener, but he no doubt made his presence felt during the time he was on the field, finishing his abbreviated evening with three tackles, and one tackle for loss, including a thundering hit on Cardinals running back David Johnson.
"It felt good," Joseph said smiling. "I think he [Johnson] was wrapped up, I'm not going to take too much credit. I came down. I saw him wrapped up, getting wrapped up a little, and I was like, I'm going to try to smash him."
He continued, "I like it better when it's me one-on-one in the hole, then I feel like I can take a lot more credit for it. It's me and you, one-on-one, it's going to be either me or you. I like that feeling. It's whoever who's going to fold first, and I don't think I'm ever going to fold."
Joseph's hit on Johnson is hopefully the first of many for the former West Virginia Mountaineer in 2017, and if he indeed builds on his solid rookie season, credit a lot of that improvement to the simple fact that he's comfortable, and maybe more importantly, healthy.
"I think me coming in this year healthy – last year I was still rehabbing from my ACL – I didn't feel as explosive as I know I am," Joseph explained. "Just having that full offseason to be able to train, and work out with the guys, and go through OTAs [Organized Team Activities] and mini-camp with the guys, and coming into camp healthy, I think that's been the biggest difference. I think the mental part of the game has slowed down for me a lot, me being able to react faster run and pass, and not second guessing myself, and just going when I know it, and trusting myself. I think that's been the biggest difference."
Healthy, comfortable, and with a year of NFL experience under his belt will hopefully be a potent combination for Joseph in 2017. He'll get his next chance to take the field Saturday night against the Los Angeles Rams at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
- In other Raiders related news, CBS announced Tuesday that play-by-play commentator Beth Mowins would be joining their team to call regular season games in 2017, paired with Jay Feely. Mowins is currently part of the preseason broadcast team for the Silver and Black.
-Rookie cornerback Gareon Conley was once again unable to participate in practice Tuesday, along with defensive end Jihad Ward, and guard Denver Kirkland.
-However, defensive end Fadol Brown, wide receiver Amari Cooper, defensive end Khalil Mack, and safety Obi Melifonwu all got back to work after missing time over the past few days.
-Defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., routinely stresses the importance of forcing turnovers, and he delivered that message loud and clear Tuesday, yelling at his players, "no balls on the ground!" Turnovers are the quickest way to shift the momentum of a game, and Norton wanted to impart that information firmly to his group.
-With so many key cogs from the Raiders special teams units in 2016 now in new football homes, there are certainly jobs to be won on the Silver and Black's coverage teams. During one of the special teams periods of practice, the team ran a drill primarily for the gunners, seeing who could get down the field, evading opposing blockers, the quickest.
-Amari Cooper and Derek Carr didn't look like they had missed a beat with Cooper sidelined the past few days, as the Raiders quarterback repeatedly went back to No. 89 throughout 11-on-11 drills, hitting the powerful wideout in stride on numerous occasions.
-Sean Smith also got involved in the action today, making an impressive pass breakup on a ball intended for Michael Crabtree in the back of the end zone.
-Antonio Hamilton made sure that Smith wasn't the only cornerback making a highlight reel play Tuesday, as No. 32 secured an interception in one of the final periods of the day, hauling in a pass that bounced off the chest of tight end Clive Walford.
-The play of the day belonged to Michael Crabtree. With the team going 11-on-11, Crabtree made a move, gained a little separation, then dove to haul in a pass from Carr in the back of the end zone. The clip has bene posted on the Raiders social accounts, so be sure to take a look.
Song Of The Day:
"Cashin' Out" – Ca$h Out.
I'm sensing a theme here…
"It's good to have him back. He's a tough guy. Good to have him back out here. He's a versatile guy. He can play guard and center. It's good to have him out. We're getting healthier, that's the goal. Get through this camp and condition and get the work in and get our guys healthy. He's one that's done well to get himself back at practice."
-Head Coach Jack Del Rio discussing the return of offensive lineman Jon Feliciano.
Tweet Of The Day: