If all you had to go on was Paul Posluszny's description of his first NFL performance Friday night, you'd think it was average at best. But a team leading nine tackles and a sack said otherwise in Buffalo's 13-10 win over the Saints.
"It's the preseason and I think it's an okay start," said the rookie linebacker. "I definitely made a lot of mistakes, with techniques and fundamentals. Everything kind of frazzles and you're just trying to get to the ball. It was a good start, but there's a lot to work on as well."
Posluszny, who entered the game in the second quarter, assisted Coy Wire on a tackle on his very first snap holding New Orleans' rookie tailback Antonio Pittman to just a two-yard carry. By the end of the Saints' 11-play drive Posluszny had racked up five tackles.
"It felt good to get out and play someone else and play some other competition," said Posluszny. "Hitting your own guys gets old after a while and it feels good to finally go out and play a real game and go all out 100 percent."
The biggest challenge for Buffalo's second-round pick this season will be making all the pre-snap reads for the defense as its middle linebacker. Initially there were jitters.
"At first I was a little nervous," Posluszny said. "But just like anything else once I got a few reps under my belt I got real comfortable and it became just like practice. It's the same thing. You get the call from coach (DeMontie) Cross and you call it and play. It took a couple of reps to get settled, but once that happened I felt at home."
And the Bills are hoping Posluszny can learn quickly and be at home in the heart of their defense for a long time. One sign that he is making rapid progress was his sack of Saints quarterback Tyler Palko late in the third quarter for a nine-yard loss.
Posluszny rushed right up the middle after his initial read gave him the opportunity to go after the quarterback. But that was the second time in the game that he had that read.
"I had a similar situation earlier in the game and I missed it and then I got another chance and I was able to fix it the second time around," he said. "I was happy that it worked out that way."
Learning from his mistakes and making right on them in the span of a quarter is a good sign. Even better is not getting fooled the first time. Posluszny didn't buy the play fake that allowed Palko to escape on a naked bootleg. As a result he was the first to cut him off at the sideline.
But Posluszny was far from satisfied.
"I wish we got him a little bit earlier because he ran for quite a bit," said Posluszny of Palko's 19-yard gain. "You could tell something just wasn't right."
Instinctive and soaking up the scheme like a sponge the Bills know what is right. It's having Posluszny on their roster.
"Paul is just a good player," said head coach Dick Jauron. "Hopefully he'll just get better and better. The more athletes you really trust out there the better you feel about winning any football game. We're accumulating more (trust in him) and he'll keep working at it, but he's a good one."