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Posluszny quietly emerging on young Bills D

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Posluszny leading Bills in tackles (buffalobills.com)

Paul Posluszny isn't exactly the outgoing type.  If you're going to Poz - the Buffalo Bills' second-year starting middle linebacker - for a good sound clip, prepare to be disappointed.  He's just not that type of guy.  Unlike vocal middle linebackers - the epitome of this group being the Ravens' Ray Lewis - Posluszny is content to give the "rah rah" response, so to speak.  He's all about the company line and giving credit to his teammates.

That's OK by Bills fans.

Already one of Buffalo's most popular players, Posluszny's blue-collar work ethic is beginning to pay off.  Fans loved Poz coming into the NFL because of his reputation and because of his no-nonsense work ethic; just six starts into his NFL career, Buffalo's middle linebacker is already starting to make his presence felt on a revamped defensive unit.

Middle Quarterback Linebacker
What Posluszny brings to this defense goes far beyond his team-leading 18 tackles through three games or his fumble recovery.  Stats don't carry as much meaning in the type of defense Buffalo plays, because - just as we've seen offensively - Buffalo's defenders remarkably share a lot of the statistical workload, so to speak.  Predominant zone defenses do that for you.

It's Posluszny who is responsible for getting his teammates lined up, however.  This job fell to him by default as he's the middle linebacker - he's strategically placed to be able to communicate with his teammates pre-snap - but Posluszny does an excellent job of it.  Buffalo's defense has been noticeably out of place only twice this season.  The first play was a dropped touchdown pass by Nate Burleson in the season opener (Terrence McGee fell on the play), and the other came in the win over Oakland, when Johnnie Lee Higgins split the safeties for an 84-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.  Posluszny himself was the man out of position on that play, which he readily admitted after the game.  Otherwise, Buffalo's defense has been in position to make plays.

Pass D credit to Poz
One of the two big reasons for the Bills' fast 3-0 start to the 2008 season (the biggest being Trent Edwards) has been Buffalo's ability to shut down opponents' rushing attacks.  Imported defensive tackle Marcus Stroud - easily the Bills' most dominant player with 12 tackles, a team-leading 2 sacks and countless drawn double-teams - gets most of the credit, and it's deserved.  It's true that Posluszny - who has been effective in stuffing the run, as have been the rest of his teammates - are playing well thanks mostly to Stroud's efforts.

Poz is known for his run-stuffing, but his true value this season has been defending the pass.  In Buffalo's zone scheme, Posluszny is chiefly responsible for clogging throwing lanes down the center of the field.  Higgins' touchdown in the Raiders win shows how important Posluszny's role is - he missed deflecting that JaMarcus Russell throw by inches.  It's the one time he's been out of position this season; he's registered one or more tipped throws downfield in each of this season's three games, and it's not going to be long before he secures one for his first career interception.

He's made his ascent to valuable defensive performer quietly, but that's in Posluszny's nature.  Despite his value, he remains rather unheralded.  This fan favorite is making very few mental errors, however, as the "quarterback" of Buffalo's resurgent defense - and he deserves a ton of credit for their early-season success.  Like Buffalo's real quarterback, Posluszny shows maturity beyond his years, and it's a huge reason that the Bills' defense is now one of the better units in the league.