Joseph Embracing Kicking Competition

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When Greg Joseph first became a kicker, he was mostly doing it because being part of the high school football team was cool. For his first couple of seasons at Florida Atlantic University, he was all about just helping out his teammates and enjoying the camaraderie.

Greg Joseph now is very serious about placekicking, and he intends on doing it for a long time in the National Football League.

"Toward the end of junior year (at FAU) I kind of realized that (playing in the NFL) was a possibility when people started talking a little bit," Joseph said. "I said, I've come this far, I was a walk-on, earned a scholarship, came that far and I busted my butt. I figured if I come this far, why not give it a chance? I'm grateful for everything that's been put in place. The good thing is I know I have a long way to go, I know where I'm at and I'm thankful for it, but that's all behind me now. The real work begins now. I'm going to continue as long as I can."

Joseph signed with the Dolphins as a rookie free agent in May to battle rookie seventh-round pick Jason Sanders for the kicking job.

The two were roommates during the offseason program and have developed a nice relationship, all the while knowing they're in competition for a position they both badly want.

"It'll be fun," Joseph said. "It'll be a good competition because getting to know Sanders and watching his film, he's a good kicker. We're at the same level at this moment, so obviously he's done good things to be here. But I think it's a good situation, but I'm just going to worry about what I can control. I'm not worried about what Sanders is doing because we're friends, we're rooming together and all that, we'll get to know each other better and better and push each other I'm sure, but I don't control what he does and he doesn't control what I do. I'm going to put my head down, work and do what I've done for the past couple of years."

Joseph joined the Dolphins after five years at FAU, where he redshirted as a freshman and worked on a master's degree in health administration last fall.

Joseph made 71.4 percent of his field goal attempts last season and kicked a school-record 54-yard field goal against Navy on his way to earning All-Conference USA honorable mention recognition.

The 2018 NFL draft saw only two kickers selected, one of them being Sanders. Joseph, who worked out for Special Teams Coordinator Darren Rizzi before the draft, then got the call from the Dolphins to sign as an undrafted free agent.

"He came up to Boca," Joseph said of Rizzi. "I think I put a good showing of my leg strength. The benefit of it was that Coach Rizzi gave me some pointers because he's seen a lot, he's been around a while. He gave me pointers to work on and I took those to heart as well and really began working on it and hope to keep working on the stuff we talk about and stay on that track.

"I took some strides mentally from other vets and Coach Rizzi as well. Mentally I still have a lot to go, but I'm growing and I think that's important."

Joseph worked out with a small group of kickers before the draft, and one of those just happened to be Cody Parkey, the man he's battling Sanders for the right to replace.

"I've worked with him a lot and wish him the best in Chicago because I think he can do really good things there," Joseph said. "(He was a great guy to learn from) just with the insight he's had from going from place to place and obviously seeing success here last year."

Joseph is still relatively new when it comes to placekicking because he grew up playing soccer, which makes sense considering he was born in South Africa and didn't move to the United States until he was 7.

He was very good at soccer, too, earning all-state recognition at American Heritage in Delray. But he said it took him a while to get the hang of kicking a different kind of ball between two uprights.

"I could kick a ball far, but it doesn't mean it was going through the uprights," said Joseph, who kicked only one year in high school. "Changing up the form from soccer to football was a big step, but I can't say I was good at all because even when I look back and four years from now, hopefully I'm saying right now wasn't good. Hopefully I look back and keep growing and I'm able to say, well, now I still have more to go. The point where you say you're good is probably close to the end, so I've still got a lot of work to do and I think it's a good thing I have the mind-set that I have to realize that and living for today only. I'm not worried about tomorrow, I'm not worried about next week, just worried about what I can control."

Joseph obviously has come a long way since his first days as a placekicker. As he's gotten better, he's also grown to enjoy it more and more.

And now he's hoping he'll get to keep doing it for a long time to come.

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