At the beginning of the 2008 campaign Paul Posluszny was just hopeful he'd make it through a 16-game season after a broken arm robbed him of most of his rookie year. Now with 2008 in the books, Posluszny not only played all 16 games, but looked pretty good doing it as fans voted him the team's Defensive MVP in a Buffalobills.com online poll.
Posluszny received a third of the vote in a tight race, which saw Kawika Mitchell and Marcus Stroud not far behind in second and third respectively.
There was no debating that Posluszny provided an impact at middle linebacker where he led the team in tackles with 129 according to coaches statistics. He also had almost 40 more solo tackles than his next closest teammates.
"I'm glad I finally have a first full season underneath my belt and a lot of experience. A lot of learning experiences," Posluszny said. "I feel better off now."
Posluszny was the defensive signal caller, responsible for getting the entire unit lined up properly pre-snap with the right check or adjustment. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell was impressed with the way his second-year linebacker was able to handle that.
"He managed the game for me as a coach unbelievably this year," Fewell said. "There were a number of calls this season that he had to get out of because they weren't good situations and he put us in the better situation of the two calls. And so, he has corrected some things on the field from a game management standpoint."
"I felt comfortable with that aspect of the game the entire season," Posluszny said. "Making the checks and getting our defense lined up I felt really comfortable with that because we drill it so much in practice. Our linebackers coach and defensive coordinator they really do a great job with all that making sure I understand the defenses and everything that goes into it."
Posluszny also turned in a few big plays on the season like his fumble recovery against Oakland that led to a touchdown in what proved to be a one-point victory, or his interception off a deflected pass against the Jets late in the season that also led to a score.
The middle linebacker also was fourth on the team in pass breakups and had a forced fumble to his credit. But Posluszny is anything but satisfied.
"I don't really think I played as well as I would have liked to, but that will come in time," he said. "After so many games I felt like I learned so much where I said I wish I knew this before the game started. I just have to line up and make plays as well."
"I think he played well," said Fewell. "We'd like for him to have more interceptions and all that, but I think in his first full year, he was really a rookie. I think he performed pretty well."
Posluszny believes all the big plays he was known for at Penn State will also become a greater part of his game at the NFL level in the near future and his defensive coordinator feels the same way.
"I think you'll see that as he gains more experience," said Fewell. "Again, he was recognizing things this year that he saw a year ago and he saw on tape, but he didn't get the experience. I think he definitely needs to be more of an impact guy in the future and I think he will be more of an impact guy in the future."
"It's about having a feel for what's coming at us, being at the right spot at the right time," said Posluszny. "It seemed in a lot of instances I was always just a half a step away or if I took a wrong step in one direction that was the difference between making a play and not. So I will fix those things and that will come. It was tough because it was a first real season, first game time experience playing all 16 games so it will come in time and I think the future will only get better and better."