Goodbye, Paul Posluszny: An ignorant fan’s take
blog by Ben Kirst • July 26, 2011 @ 10:04pm
I just saw on Twitter—via the brilliant and timely Brian Galliford of Buffalo Rumblings, easily the finest source of Buffalo Bills news in Western New York—that Paul Posluszny has signed a six-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. I instantly went through the full range of Bills-related emotions: shock, then numbness. It’s OK that Poz is gone. He wasn’t that good anyway, right?
I’m serious—was he that good? Let’s recap.
2007: There’s no doubt Poz was one of the great college linebackers in recent football history, and I was pretty excited when he came to Buffalo. I mean, look at that hair! Plus the Butkus Award and whatnot. He broke his arm in the third game of the season against the New England Patriots, the same game that gave us our first taste of Trent Edwards and his cruel ability to give us irrational hope (TD drive on his first series in the NFL!) followed by horrifying reality (Buffalo lost 38-7!). Poz would not play for the rest of the campaign, that awful, awful year in which the 7-9 Bills lost on the last play of the game to both the Broncos and Cowboys, lost 8-0 to the Browns and choked away a 2-TD lead over the Giants. Ugh.
2008: Poz records 110 tackles and was the Bills’ defensive MVP. And you know what? The Buffalo defense was actually kind of decent that year. The offense, however, was not. The Bills finished 7-9. It’s the only season Poz plays in all 16 games.
2009: Poz breaks his arm in the first game of the season (a heartbreaking loss to New England!). He misses four games and ends up with more total tackles (111) than he had in ‘08. Poz also picks off four passes and forces three fumbles. Buffalo actually had sort of a nasty pass defense, finishing 4th in passing yards allowed while intercepting an amazing 28 passes. Luckily for opponents, the Bills gave up over 156 rushing yards per game. Nice stats, Paul, but as MILB, it was kind of your job to stop that. Buffalo finishes 6-10.
2010: Poz plays 14 games, records 151(!) total tackles. The Bills go 4-12 and have an abysmal defense. North Tonawanda rushed for 185 yards on the Bills in 2010, and that was without two starting o-linemen.
So Poz had some nice statistical seasons on some pretty mediocre teams. Now he’s gone, and the Bills don’t have much to work with - as Buffalo Rumbings reports,
“Things now get interesting for the Bills at inside linebacker, where their depth chart runs just four deep with veterans Andra Davis and Reggie Torbor, as well as rookies Kelvin Sheppard and Chris White. Don’t be surprised if the Bills bump this position up a bit on their list of priorities with Posluszny heading to Jacksonville.”
So, as an ignorant fan, I’m torn. Poz was alright, but he never seemed like a real game-changer to me. At the same time, the cupboard behind him is absolutely bare. I can’t really feel good about seeing him leave when my next best option is Andra Davis. The roster will reshuffle, sure, but it’s just one more hole to fill, which means—if recent Bills history is any indicator—there’s going to be another hole opening somewhere else as the scramble to improve depth leaves another area paper-thin.
I know this has no effect on the field, but Poz was also one of the few players on the team who was both marketable, relatively skilled and not the punter. Armchair sociologists may want to question why the most popular Bills of the past few years have been Poz, Brian Moorman and occasional love affairs with the decidedly questionable Edwards, JP Losman and Ryan Fitzpatrick and not players of a slightly more -shall we say - urban background. Not trying to start anything! I just feel that the fan reaction to Brian Moorman hypothetically struggling with his faith after a shanked punt may have been different than the reaction to Johnson’s existential Tweet following his Steelers flub. Regardless, for a team that doesn’t have a ton of familiar faces in the community, that’s one more out the door.
We’ll see how it all turns out, I suppose. And at worst, there’s always the Sunday Ticket and beer.