Ever since the news broke the Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny was being moved outside from his normal middle linebacker position, the struggle has been real.
Everything changed. In football, players are used to repetition. They see things the same way day in and day out. They practice the same way as if it was second nature. For the leader of the Jacksonville Jaguars defense, nothing looked right.
To some extent, it still doesn’t.
This wasn’t something that Posluszny, who has been with the Jaguars since 2011, didn’t expect. He spent his entire NFL career in the middle of the defense and has been asked to move outside so Myles Jack gets an opportunity to play in the starting lineup.
Posluszny said all the right things when the move was announced. He stood in front of the cameras and told the media he wanted to do anything possible to help the team win. But the look on his face was one of disappointment. That hasn’t shown up on the football field, as he still has worked as hard as he normally does, trying to get better, trying to prove that he was still the best at what he does. And as one of the veterans on this Jacksonville Jaguars team, he’s also trying to lead by example. But still the change hasn’t been as smooth as he or the Jaguars staff would have liked.
“I’m not reading and reacting as fast as I need to be. That needs to continually get better and better, Posluszny said in a story on ESPN.com by Michael DiRocco.
Posluszny has played 10 years at middle linebacker. The change may not seem all that significant but in reality, it is. To simplify things, the last time he played out of position was in college at Penn State when he was asked to play on the weak side. The former second round pick of the Buffalo Bills in the 2007 NFL Draft knows no different.
Now, he lines up closer to the ball and in most cases opposite the tight end. Instead of playing four or five yards off the line scrimmage he’s learning to play within a different range. His reaction time must be better. His quickness must be on point. And instead of zoning in on a running back or the quarterback, he must concentrate on a pass catcher running a route.
The change will take some time.
Even with these changes by the Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff, Posluszny must still deliver. As one of the leading tacklers on this team during his time in Florida, he knows he still plays a vital role in helping this team win.
Even though those wins have been few and far between since he came to Jacksonville, Posluszny has continued to play at a high-level of success. Once he figures out his new role with this defense, the team hopes he will continue to play not only with a high level of confidence, but the success that has made him a leader on the field and in the locker room.