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…