If Greg Joseph doesn’t start the season as the Tennessee Titans' kicker, it won’t be because of his mindset.
The 25-year-old out of Florida Atlantic entered training camp as the team’s presumed No. 1 option but by no means is he a shoo-in for the job. Joseph has battled undrafted free-agent addition Tucker McCann, and according to multiple reports, the Titans are in the process of trying out at least a pair successful veteran kickers, Stephen Gostkowski and Steven Hauschka.
However, none of that concerns Joseph.
“I only know how I am doing,” he said Sunday. “I have no idea how anything else in this camp, kicking-wise, is going, so I am just worried about Greg. That’s all I can control.
“… I think camp is going well. I am hitting the ball well and I am putting together good days. I never gauge the competition, because to me the competition is between me and me.”
At the end of last season and into the playoffs, Joseph, who began his NFL career with the Cleveland Browns in 2018, brought control to an unsteady kicking situation.
Before the Titans signed Joseph off of the Carolina Panthers’ practice squad in Week 16, the Titans had three different kickers come and go. Ryan Succop, once the epitome of a consistent NFL kicker, couldn’t stay healthy and failed to get into a rhythm when he was. Cody Parkey and Cairo Santos both had short-lived stays in the Music City.
In five appearances with Tennessee (the final two in the regular season, and three the postseason), Joseph made all 18 of his extra-point attempts (nine in the regular season, nine more in the playoffs). He attempted just one field goal, which he made in the AFC Championship game against Kansas City.
McCann, on the other hand, made 61 of his 84 field goal attempts over four years at Missouri, which is good for second most in school history. Earlier in training camp, Titans special teams coordinator Craig Aukerman said the one thing that “jumps out about Tucker is how strong his leg is.”
Without any preseason games this summer, coaches have not been able to evaluate Joseph or his competitor in game action, but they have been able to put them in live situations during practices.
On Sunday, according a pool report, Joseph and McCann attempted five field goals during the field goal period of practice. Each made four field goals and missed one (Joseph wide right from 46, McCann wide right from 30).
In the situational period, Joseph made one field goal from 55 yards out and missed one from 53 yards out. McCann, meanwhile, made one 58-yard field goal and missed a 57-yarder.
“(General manager) Jon [Robinson] and I talk about it every day,” coach Mike Vrabel said Sunday. “Who responds and who is taking advantage in some of these kicks? Who is able to make kicks when you have to have it? And who has been consistent?
“You’re looking for consistency and continued improvement. Those are a lot of things that go into any battle. Without preseason games and games, you can evaluate people in, that’s been our conversation when we talk about the roster.”
With the regular season set to start in just over two weeks, what the Titans decide to do at kicker will be clear sooner rather than later.
It could be Joseph. It could be McCann. It could very well be neither of the two.
No matter what, though, Joseph will just keep his head down and kick.
“That’s where it comes down to me trusting my ability and who I am … trusting in the plan,” Joseph said. “There’s a plan for all of us. I am following it and I am busting my butt to make sure I get there. What’s meant to be will be. That’s how I keep myself at bay and go about each day.”