Replacing retired middle linebacker Paul Posluszny seems to be pretty straightforward for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Myles Jack, who started at strongside linebacker and played in the middle in nickel situations last season, moves into the middle full time. Blair Brown and Donald Payne are competing to be the starter at strongside linebacker.
In reality, replacing Posluszny is a monumental task. How do you step in for a guy who knew the defense intimately, seemed to be in the right spot at the right moment every time, made calls and adjustments on the field in seconds, and — according to Jack, anyway — never made a mistake?
Wait. Never? Pretty much.
“It was rare — and I mean RARE in all capital letters — if he made a mistake,” Jack said. “That’s the standard, especially playing Mike [middle linebacker], having to know everything and tell everybody what to do and then doing your own job. He was very good at it.”
Posluszny did it for seven seasons in Jacksonville — after four seasons in Buffalo — and amassed 973 tackles (according to the Jaguars, and the total ranks second most in franchise history), intercepted 11 passes, recorded 13.0 sacks and forced four fumbles. He missed only 12 games because of injuries (nine with a torn pectoral muscle in 2014) and was a defensive captain for five seasons.
He also was the perfect role model for young players when they entered the NFL. He was at the facility before every other player pretty much every day — even in the offseason. He knew the playbook inside and out. He killed it in the weight room — the plaque on the wall that recognizes the offseason workout champion has his name all over it — and he rarely missed practice.