It’s a motto that Bills rookie linebacker Vosean Joseph lives it every time he steps on the football field.
His mantra is, apply pressure every day.
Joseph, a fifth-round pick of the Bills, is known for his hard-hitting style of play and the energy he brings to the game.
“He plays a free style of football that’s rugged and physical and it’s nasty,” said head coach Sean McDermott. “That to me is what jumps off the tape. He pulls the trigger and plays a physical brand of football.”
But long before Joseph adopted that approach to his profession, he had more important decisions to make to escape the temptations and pressures in his hometown of Miami.
Choosing to accept a scholarship to the University of Florida in Gainesville allowed him to leave behind a troubling path that too many of his friends traveled after high school.
“It kept me away from a lot of stuff and it helped me to have a better mindset and change me as a person to be the man I am today,” Joseph said.
On Wednesday, June 19, the Buffalo Bills rookie class spent the day visiting several notable places in the community. Check out photos from their visit to City Hall, a local police station and fire house.
Joseph felt that the people he used to hang around with would have caused a lot of distractions and Florida was a “blessing in disguise.”
He can’t remember the exact amount of friends he’s lost back home since he left for Gainesville, but it’s close to a handful.
“I love my family, I love my friends, and I’m going to ride for them until my death,” Joseph said. “If I had been there through all the tragedies I probably wouldn’t have made it.”
Despite Joseph’s success in football, the game didn’t become a priority for him until high school. He was a basketball player first and originally stepped onto the football field as a quarterback. He quickly switched to defensive end since quarterback was too “soft” for him.
A diligent student with decent grades, Joseph didn’t even know he could get a scholarship offer to go to college for football until the 10th grade.
Joseph’s parents, mom Natalie, and dad Wesley, both personified the meaning of hard work. Both of them emigrated from the Caribbean. Mom is a native of Jamaica, while his father is a native of the Bahamas. They taught Joseph to never take anything for granted.
“I keep saying I’m here today (in the NFL), so obviously they did something right,” Joseph said.
Joseph spent three years at the University of Florida where he totaled 161 tackles and 14 for a loss in 30 career games. His junior year he recorded four sacks and nine tackles for a loss.
Suffice to say his play lived up to applying pressure every day.
Joseph’s ties to his Miami community already has him brainstorming about giving back the same way others gave to him.
He remembers attending football camps former NFL player Mike McKenzie hosted at local parks and was amazed to see someone in the NFL doing that for less fortunate kids.
Joseph now has an opportunity to do the same and become another player who was able to succeed coming from Miami.
For now though, Joseph recognizes his sole focus must be trying to carve out a role on Buffalo’s roster.
Fortunately for him, there are parts of Joseph’s college career with the Gators that will benefit him as he tries to convince the coaching staff he’s worthy of a spot on the squad.
Special teams were stressed at Florida by head coach Dan Mullen. It didn’t matter if you were a starter on offense or defense. Everyone had to contribute in any way possible.
That’s why Joseph revels in the opportunity to play on kickoffs. The thought of being able to run full speed and hit someone in the open field puts a charge in the linebacker. At the same time he knows making it in the league is more than just the athleticism one can bring to the table.
“The speed (in the NFL game) is a lot faster,” Joseph said. “It’s a job and you have to take it seriously. Your talent and athleticism won’t get you anywhere. You have to know what you’re doing.”
For now, that means learning an outside linebacker role in the defensive scheme and coverage units on special teams.
“He’s playing one of the outside positions,” said head coach Sean McDermott of Joseph’s linebacker role. “First and foremost try and learn our system from a line of scrimmage standpoint, but the special teams piece of it too will be critical especially in his first year.”
And knowing Joseph’s play has some attitude behind it gives him a good chance to make an impact under new special teams coach Heath Farwell.
Applying pressure every day may prove difficult on the field, as Joseph’s reps figure to be limited in quantity as a rookie. But he knows the most important pressure he must apply is on himself to help ensure his pro career gets off on the right foot.