Kerby Joseph, a newcomer to Lions, thinks the coaches are ahead of him

In recent seasons, the Detroit Lions Safety Team has been a problem on the list. The misuse of the players of the previous regime, together with the lack of investment last season, put the lions in a position to make changes in the 2022 season.

First, they re-signed their background leader, Tracy Walker, and have put more on his shoulders as a leader. In addition, they shifted some player roles, taking Will Harris to the corner and training Ifeatu Melifonwu in the corner and safety so he could be more of a game weapon. They next added a veteran to DeShon Elliott and are now expected to hold a starting role against Walker.

But their biggest move to safety this season could be the drafting of Kerby Joseph in the third round with a No. 97 choice.

Today, Joseph, like all beginners, is still adjusting to the NFL’s game book and game pace. But Lions security coach Brian Duker says Joseph is making progress and ahead of his expectations.

“I’d say Kerby is actually ahead of where I thought he would be with you,” Duker told the media on the last day of the OTA. “I was really pleasantly surprised by him. The biggest thing with him is learning the verb. It’s a much bigger playbook than it used to be. So now understanding all the calls actually involved and putting together a toolbox is something we’ve talked about a whole lot.

According to Duker, Joseph has quickly integrated into the safe area and is connecting with veterans, specifically Walker, to shorten his learning curve.

“Kerby is a great man,” Walker told the media during the mini-camp. “He approaches his work every day, he is always ready to work. He always asks questions, which is great. He is very aware of what is going on here.

Duker’s comments supported what Walker said about novice work ethic, noting that Joseph is “humble” and admits that Walker and Elliott can be very valuable resources to learn from.

Although Walker and Elliott are currently taking off their starting roles, that doesn’t mean Joseph isn’t on the field. Bringing young players to the field is valuable, and as he earns his playing time, lions will find places to use him.

“Really, we’re going back to playing time,” Duker continued. “So if he does a good job and shows that he really has value, we have a lot of packages, we have a lot of different things we can do. So if he earns it, he’s really good – let’s say it’s the third blow and he can go take the ball and we want to put a number of DBs (defensive backs) on the court and he will earn that place, it would be a great opportunity for him and I would be very excited if he could do it.

Although Joseph has looked all over the field during his spring training, the scenario suggested by Duker would be the ideal use of Joseph’s skill set. Rolling Joseph at one height – his natural position – in several defenses in the background would allow his best qualities – shooting distance and ball skills – to stand out. If he can succeed in this type of role, his self-confidence should increase as he develops in other areas.

“We always knew he was very safe,” Duker said. “If he’s playing deep and the ball is in the air, he’s the same man he was in college. He’s great at that. He’s going to get the ball. Now for us, how do you fit a run into our system? How do you play bunches in our system? How do you do things like that? He’s done a very good job and is ahead of where I thought he was.

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