NASHVILLE, Tenn. –- Raiders safety Karl Joseph was certainly excited about his NFL defensive debut.
He was held back the first two games as the Raiders provided extra time to get comfortable mentally and physically after missing the offseason program recovering from an ACL repair.
He was called to action on Sunday, and was pumped about the chance to help his team.
“There was a nervous feeling during the first couple drives,” Joseph said, “but that wore off as the game slowed down and I started feeling comfortable.”
The Raiders were better with Joseph on the field, and he certainly helped an improved defensive effort in Sunday’s 17-10 victory over the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium.
He led the Raiders with 10 tackles and played well against the run in particular.
“My eyes told me he did some good things,” said coach Jack Del Rio. "I’m sure there will be things that weren’t perfect, but I thought he gave us good work throughout the practice week, and I thought he gave us a little bit of a spark having him in.”
The Raiders didn’t allow a touchdown with Joseph on the field, though one was scored while he remained in the locker room to start the second half while getting an IV.
He impressed teammates with an aggressive style of play, something this team lacked in the middle of its defense.
“Karl was coming up hitting,” cornerback Sean Smith said. “I was surprised that somebody small was throwing his body in there against those big backs they have. He came in, played fast and made good calls. I was happy for him.”
Joseph wanted to make an imprint on the game and this defense, to show Raiders fans why they’re team selected him No. 14 overall in this year’s NFL draft.
“They drafted me (partly) because of my personality,” Joseph said. “I’m a natural leader, so I wanted to go out there, do my job and hopefully give the guys a spark. I just tried to stay focused out there and make some plays.”