Paul Posluszny: 4 questions for 2015
By Luke Sims
Paul Posluszny has been the heart of the Jacksonville Jaguars defense almost since joining the team back in 2011. More of a classic linebacker, capable of racking up an impressive number of tackles but not so great in coverage, “Poz” has won our hearts repeatedly with his determination, character, and professionalism.
There isn’t a player on the Jaguars roster who embodies what it means to be a Jaguar more than Poz right now. While not with the organization for his full career, the last four years with Jacksonville (he had four with the Buffalo Bills before coming over) have been about everything the Jaguars could have hoped for.
A holdover from the Gene Smith era, Dave Caldwell has shown commitment to Posluszny, extending him for three more years this offseason. He heaped praise on the linebacker, saying, “Paul is a true pro in every sense of the word. He is a valuable asset on and off the field and has done a great job mentoring our younger players while also performing well on the field.”
While there are a ton of positives about Posluszny, the fact of the matter is that he has questions hanging over him as he works to come back from an injury that sidelined him for much of 2014. We’ll pose some questions relevant to the defensive leader here.
Sep 21, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen (83) fights for yardage as Jacksonville Jaguars linebackers Paul Posluszny (51) and Telvin Smith (50) try to bring him down in the fourth quarter of their game at EverBank Field. The Colts won 44-17. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
1) Can Paul Posluszny still be a leader for the Jacksonville Jaguars?
There’s no question in my mind that Posluszny is the mentor that the Jaguars need. As a young team, Posluszny has been able to help turn young men into professionals on the defensive side of the ball and in the locker room.
Respected the league over, Poz is able to show that the young Jaguars are on the rise to the rest of the NFL. He’s leading them to higher highs and he does so both on the sideline and on the field.
You might say that Posluszny is more of an inspiration than anything else. To quote head coach Gus Bradley per the Florida Times-Union:
"I can’t say enough about Paul and what he means to our team. He is highly respected by his teammates and our coaching staff. You don’t measure a guy like Paul with just his stats but the overall impact he has on our team. He has earned the respect of everybody in the building with his preparation, determination and drive to get better each and every day."
While he has struggled in coverage, you need only look at the 100+ tackle years (2008-2013) Posluszny has had to see the impact he has on the football field. In his last full season, 2013, Posluszny led the NFL in stops, as measured by Pro Football Focus. With 80 instances of causing offensive failure independently were a full 13 higher than the next best of that year, NaVorro Bowman.
When looking for a leader, the Jaguars can’t find anyone better.
Even if Posluszny finds himself on the sidelines again, I can guarantee that he will continue to lead the Jaguars. While I love seeing him play, his value goes well beyond statistics. His leadership is intangible. As he gears up for his ninth NFL season, we can’t forget just how valuable he is.
Next: Will injuries become a concern?