From the beach to the national spotlight, Browns' new kicker up for the challenge

As the Browns endured a stomach-turning, last-second loss to the Saints, Greg Joseph was doing what most guys his age do on a South Florida Sunday.

"I was just living the South Florida life," Joseph said. "Hung out by the water with some buddies, relaxing and watching some games. Nothing crazy."

Joseph took note of what happened in New Orleans and Green Bay, games that featured a combined seven missed field goals and two extra points, but didn't get his hopes up. League-wide, 19 total kicks were missed. Joseph didn't take any pleasure in any of them.

Opportunity, though, was knocking on Joseph's door as the waves washed over his feet.

"You think about it, but I was just relaxing and enjoying," Joseph said. "It is a small kicking family. I do not pray for anyone to fail – any kicker, period. When the opportunity comes, you have to do your best when it comes."

Both the Browns and Vikings, whose three missed field goals prevented them from a victory over the Packers, moved on from their kickers one day later.

Joseph made the most of his opportunity Monday, connecting on six of seven kicks during a workout with the Browns. His only miss was from 56 yards, and he connected on an immediate retry. Joseph was signed shortly thereafter, replacing Zane Gonzalez, who missed two extra points and two field goals in Cleveland's 21-18 loss to the Saints.

"Felt like I hit the ball well. I just came out here and focused on hitting my ball," Joseph said Tuesday after his first practice, a walk-through, with the Browns. "There was obviously some great competition out there, but I did not watch them. I just focused on me. Ecstatic to be here. Ready to give it everything that I have and ready to have a great time here."

The Browns 53-man roster as of September 22, 2018.

Joseph will have to get ready in a hurry. The rookie out of Florida Atlantic's NFL debut is set to make his debut Thursday night against the Jets.

Browns coach Hue Jackson, who said Monday the team simply needed a kicker who could put the ball through the uprights on a consistent basis, liked what he saw from Joseph during Tuesday's walk-through.

"We will do whatever we think that we need to do to make sure that he is ready to go," Jackson said. "He came over to me and said, 'Coach, thanks for the opportunity.' He had a big, bright smile on his face. He is excited about being here, excited about having the opportunity to kick. He has that mindset – 'Put me out there, Coach. I will go win the game if need be.'"

Joseph got a taste of the NFL during the preseason, when he competed for the Dolphins' job against Jason Sanders, the team's seventh-round pick. Joseph ultimately fell short in the battle but he made it interesting, hitting all three of his in-game opportunities, including one from more than 50 yards.

It was a valuable experience, he said, that better prepared him for a tryout like Monday's and, now, a nationally televised debut with his new team.

"I learned from players and coaches there to become a man of routine," Joseph said. "That has worked for legends that have kicked in this league. Basically, just stay that way and stay in the middle. If I make three kicks in a row, I am not going to get too high. If I miss a couple, I am not going to get too low. I am staying right there in the middle."

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