From the moment he signed with the Browns in March, Karl Joseph has made it clear he'll be playing with an edge in 2020.
The former first-round pick has been itching to get back on the field after his 2019 campaign — arguably his best — was short-circuited by a season-ending foot injury. He's more than ready to prove he can bounce back in a big way in a brand new setting.
ClevelandBrowns.com caught up with Joseph after a recent practice.
CB.com: With your offseason foot surgery in the rearview mirror, what's been your personal plan like to get ready for the 2020 season?
Joseph: I think the staff is doing a good job. The trainers, (Senior VP of Player Health and Development Joe Sheehan), his staff, the communication has been great and everybody has been on the same page. Their plan for me has been a good plan. I've been kind of ramping up the past few weeks. A couple of days this week I took a lot more reps and stuff like that. I'm heading into Week 1 feeling good and hoping there's no holding back and no setbacks. They've done a great job getting me ready.
CB.com: You were playing some of the best football of your career before your injury. How excited are you to get back and pick up where you left off?
Joseph: I have a lot to prove. I think this team has a lot to prove, so it's a perfect match. I always played with a chip on my shoulder, but this year it's even more with the way the season ended for me last year. Coming here was a fresh start and a new opportunity. I'm happy to be here and feel blessed to be in this position and opportunity with this team. I'll give everything I have to show the world that this organization did the right thing giving me this opportunity.
CB.com: How tough was it on the group to lose Grant Delpit?
Joseph: It was hard to see him go down like that. I know what it's like to be hurt, especially a young guy before the season even starts. I know how hard that is for him. That's what I care about most. It's mental. We're going to have to do a good job of staying in his corner and keeping him positive because I know how hard that can be. I think we've done a good job of stepping up. That's football. It's unfortunate sometimes to lose guys, and I think Grant will be a big part of the defense moving forward. The next guy has to be ready. Nobody is going to come in here and save us. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We have injuries and everybody has injuries. Next guy up has to be ready to play.
CB.com: Have you been encouraged with what you've seen from the secondary even with all of these injuries?
Joseph: Yeah, for sure. That's a credit to the staff, our DB coaches. Coach Jeff (Howard) and B-Lynch (Brandon Lynch), those guys work hard. They work hard to make sure we're very detailed and know what we're doing. We're just going out and executing our jobs. Everybody's kind of stepping up and getting better. We're not where we need to be but we're making strides. We're getting better every week of practice. As long as we keep going on that route, we'll be just fine.
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CB.com: What kind of tandem do you think you can make with Andrew Sendejo?
Joseph: I'm not big into talking about predictions, but I think me and Andrew are guys who have always played with a chip on our shoulder. He's seen a lot of football and I've seen a lot of football at this point in my career. We're communicating well. We've just got to go out and play, man. There's not too much to talk about. Just have to go out there and handle our business.
CB.com: What's it like to have a defensive coordinator like Joe Woods who has a ton of knowledge and experience with the secondary?
Joseph: It's good. Anytime you have a D-coordinator that was a DBs coach, it's big. His emphasis is on the secondary and he's always coming in our room to see what we're talking about. That's big for us because we know he's going to put us in the best positions to be successful and be detailed with what we're supposed to do and how to do our jobs. It will be great for us.
CB.com: When you have a practice like you did last week, when you intercepted multiple passes, what does that do for your confidence in coming back from the injury?
Joseph: It sucks sometimes with how camp has been for me to to not get all the reps out there with my guys, but I know it's for my best interest. Just going out there and being able to get those reps and making some plays, it's good to get my mind off the injury. I'm not thinking about it and I know I'm good. It's definitely a little confidence builder and it just feels good to be out there with my teammates, communicating, running around and having fun and playing a game I love.
CB.com: What have you seen from this defensive line and how it helps the secondary by pressuring the QB?
Joseph: It's been great. I don't think I've ever played with a defensive line that is so talented across the board. It's definitely fun playing behind those guys. They'll make our job a lot easier. I can't wait to get into the season and see how they start to wreck stuff. It will be fun for sure.
CB.com: What do you expect from the season opener after a short training camp and division champion Baltimore awaiting you?
Joseph: I expect it to be a very competitive game. They have a good team and we have a good team. With no fans (in Baltimore), it's going to be weird and different from what we're used to. I don't think I've ever played with no fans since I started playing football. I'm sure that will be a different experience. At the end of the day, we've got to go out and take care of business. We're playing the game and can't worry about anything we can't control. That's going out there and doing everything we can to win the game.