Karl Joseph aims to get physical in Browns secondary

New safety anxious to play for Cleveland's crazy fanbase

Daryl Ruiter
March 26, 2020 - 6:36 pm
Cleveland Browns free safety Karl Joseph

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – There’s only one way that new Browns safety Karl Joseph knows how to play football.

Physical.

“It’s the most basic thing for me,” Joseph told Bull and Fox Thursday afternoon in an exclusive interview on 92.3 The Fan. “From the beginning when I first started playing this game, I always loved being physical. I loved the physical part of the game and I think that’s what pulled me toward this game was the physical part of it. I always loved hitting people. I wrestled in high school, so I think that also helped with some of my tackling.”

Joseph subscribes to the hitting is contagious philosophy when it comes to defense and to him, nothing gets a unit fired up like a good clean pop.

“To play defense, I think you’ve got to have that,” Joseph said. “Anytime you can bring that intensity and hit guys, you can inspire your defense a little bit and get the whole team going. I’m that kind of guy.

“I don’t fear nobody and when I’m out there, it’s an either me or you kind of mindset. I don’t always really care for my body, sometimes that’s not a good thing but I think there’s only one way to play the game. I can’t change it.”

Although the rulebook limits just how physical defenders can be these days, Joseph has adapted his game to fit within the restrictions.

“I try to abide by the new rules, lowering your target but I think you still have to be physical,” Joseph said. “That’s what football’s about, being physical.”

A 2016 first round pick by the Raiders, Joseph is moving to Cleveland instead of Las Vegas where he believes the Browns are close to finally turning the corner.

“This roster was already full of talent if you look at it and I think this year we just gotta take that next step,” Joseph said. “I’m hoping that I can come in and be a part of that solution.”

Joseph agreed to a one-year contract last week that he’ll sign once is able to take and pass his physical.

“I told my agent money wasn’t the most important thing. For me, it was going to the right situation,” Joseph said. “I’m going somewhere where I felt like I was wanted and I felt talking to Mr. Berry, he showed that they really wanted me to be a part of the organization and I was excited.

“I know we have a lot of upside to this team and we have a lot of talent if you look at the roster, a lot of talent. We have a young secondary that’s really good and probably two of the best young corners in the league.”

Joseph has been spending time with his family in Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The offseason program, originally slated to begin April 6, is on hold, as is just about everything else in the country which will present its own challenges once the Browns are able to begin preparing for the upcoming season.

“It’s going to be hard,” Joseph said. “Any time you take time away from us being around each other its going to be hard but at the same time all 32 teams are on the same even playing field. We all have to deal with the same issue and the same problems so right now, the most important thing is for us to just stay healthy and get through this crisis.

“I spoke with the coaches about getting out the playbooks to us once the NFL allows them to do that so we can get a head start and stuff but it’s always better when you can get around the team, especially being a new teammate, but I can’t wait to get around them and be in the locker room. It’s going to be hard, but we all have to deal with it.”

Joseph likes playing in front of “a crazy fan base” and he’s learned quickly just how crazy Browns fans can be and reminding him of the fans he leaves behind.

He admitted that last season in Oakland was challenging.

“It was hard, especially with all the moving parts,” Joseph said. “We had a lot of moving parts where we didn’t know where we were going to be, were we going to be in Vegas or were we coming back in Oakland. I had a strong connection with the Bay area. That’s where I got drafted. I spent all four of my years there so obviously I didn’t want to leave but that’s out of our control.

“The fan base there is crazy. Playing in front of those fans in Oakland and the Black Hole, its something special. I know it’s very hard for those fans to have your team leave like that but I’m pretty sure they’ll travel and they’re very similar to this fan base [in Cleveland]. They love their team and they’re going to support no matter what.”