As the trade deadline approached the reports were flying around that Karl Joesph was on the trade block and it looked like the 2016 first round pick could be another causality of Jon Gruden’s fire sale.
Through week three, Joseph saw only 11 defensive snaps. In weeks four through six he was sidelined with an injury. Then came the rumors that after Amari Cooper was dealt to the Cowboys, Karl Joseph was next on the chopping block.
Now for the third consecutive game, Joseph has played in 100% of the defensive snaps. Not only is he finally playing but he is playing well.
“I thought Karl Joseph had his best game that I’ve seen him play as a Raider,” Jon Gruden said following the Monday night win over the Broncos.
The past several weeks Joseph is finally looking like the big time, tone setting safety they were expecting when they drafted him out of West Virginia. Against the Broncos he was flying all over the field like a heat seeking missile.
Joseph finished the game with seven tackles, including a sack.
“I think he’s just feeling the defense now,” Gruden continued. “I think he’s learning a new defense. No different than Derek Carr. You talk about Carr learning a new offense. It’s tough on a safety now. He’s got to be the quarterback back there.”
Since joining the league in 2016, Joseph has worked under three different defensive coordinators. Comfort and familiarity certainly help any player find success and recently Paul Guenther has been putting Joseph in position to be successful and playing to his strengths.
“It’s a transition period for him, but he is really accelerated in the last four or five ball games and become a real good player for us,” said Gruden.
Here is an example of one of the many big time hits Karl Joseph put on Broncos backs and receivers.
KJ lowering the boom pic.twitter.com/DLqLW3dFns— Evan Groat (@Egroat5) December 26, 2018
For a team desperate for talent and stability in the secondary, the continued development of Joseph is a crucial building block for the defense.