After watching every one of his plays from the 2008 season on tape last spring, Paul Posluszny was far from satisfied. He wanted to make more game-changing plays in 2009. With a firm handle on the defensive system Posluszny's command in the huddle and pre-snap was apparent in training camp. So apparent, his teammates named him a defensive co-captain.
Of course Posluszny's season did not get off to the start he had envisioned for himself, when he broke his forearm for the second time in three seasons in the season opener at New England. The middle linebacker would miss the next four games.
"It was horrible," Posluszny said. "Just sitting and watching you feel like you're not adding any value to the team because you're not helping in any way. And for away games you're in the house watching TV. There's nothing worse than that. It's the last situation you want to be in."
Upon his return in Week 6 against the Jets, Posluszny made up for lost time with his edict to turn in more big plays. In overtime of a 13-13 game at the Meadowlands, just three plays after Ryan Fitzpatrick threw an interception to give the ball to New York, Posluszny got the ball back picking off Mark Sanchez on a 3rd-and-10 pass near midfield.
Buffalo's offense then drove 29 yards putting Rian Lindell close enough for a 47-yard game-winning field goal.
In Week 8 at Carolina, Posluszny led the team with 11 tackles. In Week 10 the middle linebacker forced a fumble that was recovered by Marcus Stroud in a first quarter that saw Houston turn the ball over three times.
His 12-tackle performance the following week at Tennessee led the team. Posluszny duplicated that effort in Week 11 to lead the team again and forced a fourth quarter fumble by David Garrard that Buffalo recovered to protect a 15-10 lead.
Hosting Miami in Week 12, Posluszny pressured Ricky Williams on a halfback option pass on 1st-and-goal at the Bills three-yard line forcing an errant pass that was intercepted by Chris Draft in the end zone. He also tied for the team lead in tackles with 10.
In the rematch against the Jets Posluszny forced a fumble on a sack, which was paired with two quarterback hits in Week 13.
Protecting a tight 13-10 lead in the fourth quarter at Kansas City, Posluszny snared a 3rd-and-3 attempt by Matt Cassel for his second interception of the season returning it 17 yards to the Kansas City 35, which led to a valuable insurance field goal in a 16-10 victory.
The very next week he'd add another interception to his season total picking off Tom Brady in Buffalo's Week 15 matchup with the Patriots. He finished the season with a team-leading 11 tackle performance in the season ending win against Indianapolis.
"I think I did some positive things this year," said Posluszny. "I definitely felt more comfortable and made more plays than I did last year."
When all was said and done Posluszny led the team in tackles (115), was tied for the lead in forced fumbles (3) and was third on the team in interceptions. Posluszny was pleased with the results, but still not satisfied.
"I was happy with that, but you know how it is, you always look back even after each game and say, 'Man if I did this just a little bit better,'" said Posluszny. "I think it'll always be like that, but I definitely feel like this year was better than last."
In reviewing his 2008 season, Posluszny always felt like he was a half step away from making something happen. In 2009 he closed that gap and made significantly more. His command of the defense also had a calming effect on his defensive teammates as they felt confident Posluszny would have them lined up properly.
"His communication on the field all season was good being the 'mike' linebacker. Everything went through him," said fellow linebacker Kawika Mitchell. "He played extremely well."
Knowing the defensive scheme could be different under a new head coach, Posluszny isn't overly concerned about any changes that might be made.
"Playing the 4-3 the past three years, I'm comfortable with that," said Posluszny. "There are a lot of things going on out there, a lot of different things that you know could work or feel like could work. So we'll just have to wait and see.
"Either way I'm looking forward to it. There are definitely positive things ahead and we just trust in the organization and know that they'll lead us in the right way."