While the Detroit Lions have struggled on defense much of the 2022 season, a ray of hope for the team does exist in the form of young players.
So far this season, the Lions are getting plenty of their future young stars into the mix, and safety Kerby Joseph is another player who is essentially learning on the job for the team at this point.
Joseph has come into the lineup and has battles his ups and downs for the team, but in Week 7, it seemed a lightbulb did go off for the Lions’ rookie defender. Joseph had a near interception in the game and also posted a solid three total tackles.
That, along with his work on the practice field, has caught the attention of Aaron Glenn, the team’s defensive coordinator. Speaking to the media on Thursday, October 27, Glenn discussed where Joseph is at, and seems impressed.
“It has showed up the past couple of weeks, him getting his hands on the ball. Now he hasn’t caught them, which he did a good job in college doing that. It’s going to break through for that player at some point. When he gets one, it’s going to be like a domino effect. I can guarantee there’s going to be a couple of them. He just has to break through,” Glenn told the media.
Joseph is coming along, and as a third-round pick, was always going to be a project. He had a limited football background given he didn’t start until his junior season at Illinois, so 2022 is essentially a year for him to learn on the job.
Already, Joseph seems to be coming along and charting a course toward being an important player for the future in Detroit.
Glenn: Joseph Tackling, Showing Physicality
While the picks haven’t yet come for Joseph, the one part of a game that can never afford to take a break for a defensive back is tackling. Glenn thinks that Joseph is already showing his teeth with regard to this critical element on the field.
“The other thing he’s doing a very good job with is tackling. You saw the caused fumble that he had. He’s a more physical player than we saw in college and that’s what we need out of our safeties,” Glenn said. “He’s just starting to understand the game of football. It’s totally different than it is in college, so it took him some time. It’s still going to take him some time to totally grasp how the NFL operates. But I am pleased, very pleased with that player.”
Joseph himself cited this summer that he wanted to work on his tackling, so the fact that he has made gains in that department by the middle of his first season in the league is positive and notable. He’s been in the right place a few times to start the season.
Joseph’s College Stats & Highlights
It’s not all just flash with Joseph, and in spite of his own perceived deficiencies, there’s a lot to like about where he is trending.
The safety has a lot of substance to his game as well, statistically and otherwise, which he showed in college. Quickly, Joseph produced some numbers which show him as a major ballhawk. That is a trait which figures to serve him well once he comes into the league. Joseph has 116 tackles, 5 interceptions, 6 passes defended and 1 forced fumble. Most of that production came in his senior year.
Here’s a look at some of his best plays with the Fighting Illini in college:
Joseph has showed the skills and athleticism to be a major difference maker. His quality traits on the field could help him become a player who plays a major role for the Lions in the future.
As he continues to learn, Joseph will continue to make inroads at a vital spot for the Lions on defense.