Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny admitted he’s excited to return to the middle linebacker position to Ryan O’Halloran of The Florida Times-Union on Tuesday, though he admitted the situation is fluid.
“We’re going to compete and they’re going to find out whatever the best situation is for our defense to play well and win,” Posluszny told O’Halloran. “We’re going to play wherever they want us to line up and play.”
When the move was made to flip Poz and Myles Jack, again, it come with a bit of confusion and led many people to wonder what the heck was going on with the linebacker position. A lot assumed that it was due to struggles by Jack lining up the defense and still thinking too much, though that didn’t seem to be a major issue in his first game of preseason action. Jaguars color-commentator Jeff Lageman admitted on Jaguars Today on 1010XL that Jack did much better than he expected in his first outing, so it doesn’t necessarily seem to solely be just a lack of confidence in Jack.
It’s more likely it was a combination of Jack wasn’t where the coaches needed him to be at this point and Posluszny was struggling with his transition to the strong side linebacker position. Jack is still going to be the “green dot” for the Jaguars on defense, meaning he’ll receive the calls and line people up, even as the SAM linebacker on base downs. So, it’s more likely that for right now the best fit for the defense is to squeeze one more year of Poz in the middle with Jack at more of a pseudo-second WILL spot at stack SAM linebacker.
Posluszny even admitted the move to SAM came with struggles to O’Halloran.
“At times, I was solid and at times, I struggled. I still have a long way to go to play at a high level at [the strong-side spot],” Posluszny told the Times-Union. “There’s no doubt I can play it come Week 1.”
When the move was made, it was mentioned that Poz would have to completely change how he read his keys from the outside position versus inside and that likely would be the biggest adjustment and it sounds like it was just that, a huge adjustment.
For Jack, it was always expected he’d have growing pains at the position and I think a lot of people just assumed that Posluszny would make the move just fine, but it seems he had growing pains as well. My feeling is that the Jaguars decided that rather than deal with two starting linebackers going through growing pains early in the season, the best bet is to stick each in a more familiar position to maximize the base downs and still hold Jack on the field on third down, which is why he has the green dot.
The Jaguars need to get off to a fast start early in the season, so it’s likely the coaches took the approach of getting the possible out there early in the season and can re-visit it later on. Jack will still get a lot of reps playing SAM, given he’s still going to be there on third down, and that’s what he needs more than anything, just game time.
It’s just another weird communication thing where the team says one thing, then suddenly does another, but really it’s not that big of a deal. Just a weird deal.