Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny knows all about regime change in the NFL.
He has had six head coaches in seven NFL seasons. He is nearing the end of his seventh losing season, his third in Jacksonville after four straight in Buffalo. His teams have compiled a record of 35-74.
He thinks the Jaguars finally are on the right track with first-year coach Gus Bradley.
“Third in three years, which is never the situation that you want as a player,” Posluszny said of his Jags head coaches. “But I think now, we’ve finally got to the point in the organization where we say, ‘Hey, we’ve got all the right people now from the top.’ When you talk about our owner, and our general manager and all the great things that he’s done and what he’s able to do, and our head coach. We finally feel like that these are the guys that will create stability for years to come.”
Posluszny meets his old team Sunday. His 126 tackles rank third in the NFL, right behind Buffalo’s Kiko Alonso.
Bradley, former defensive coordinator in Seattle, has brought a more aggressive style to the Jags’ defense. The transition has been a struggle. Jacksonville’s defense ranked 30th last year and it’s 29th this year. Like Seattle, Jacksonville’s defense features a stand-up defensive end who is the big pass-rush threat.
“We call it our ‘Leo,’” Posluszny said. “For us that’s Jason Babin and Andre Branch. That guy is our big-time pass-rusher. So we do it by committee with those guys. A lot of the things that they do in Seattle, the foundations that they built there, that’s what we’re trying to develop into.”
How has the change affected Posluszny’s position?
“From years past here in particular, we were very much a quarters team, a Cover 2 team, a lot of two-deep safety stuff,” he said.
Quarters coverage requires two defensive backs and two safeties each to be responsible for a quarter of the deep part of the field.
“Now, we can be very much a three-deep team on first and second downs,” he said. “And we’ll still run Cover 2, which I’ve done here. And we also used that in my first three years in Buffalo when Perry Fewell was the D-coordinator. So I’ve had some experience with that.”
Bradley on Posluszny: “I think he does a great job as far as in the locker room. He understands the message and he really does a good job with that in the locker room. On the field, the position he plays in our defense he’s going to have a lot of opportunities in each game.”
The Bills could get a break on the injury front Sunday. Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew did not practice Thursday, and neither did receiver Cecil Shorts.
“I think they’re both very questionable,” Bradley said. “Right now we’ve got our fingers crossed on both of them. … Tomorrow we’ll have a better feel. That might go all the way up until game time with those two guys.”
Jones-Drew leads Jacksonville with 719 rushing yards and also has 34 receptions. He suffered a strained hamstring in the game against Houston a week ago. Shorts leads the Jags with 66 catches for 777 yards and has been dealing with a sore groin for weeks.
“It didn’t just come back as good as the other weeks,” Bradley said of Shorts’ injury. “We’re being cautious with it and giving him more time.”
Jaguars starting strong safety Johnathan Cyprien (thigh) also didn’t practice but Bradley was optimistic about him playing. Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee, who sat out Wednesday, returned for Thursday’s practice
J.J. ‘Unga again worked with the Bills’ starters at right guard. Guard Kraig Urbik (foot) did not practice.
Bradley is a 1988 graduate of North Dakota State, where he played safety and was a teammate of Bills Wall of Famer Phil Hansen. Bradley was two years ahead of Hansen, who was drafted in the second round by the Bills in 1991.
“Phil and I lived together in the summer, so we know each other real well,” Bradley said. “I always remember when Phil came in as a freshman, I think he bench-pressed like 180 pounds. But he could take two bales of hay and throw ‘em about 30 yards. He was that kind of strong. I don’t know if they had a bench press in his high school, but they had bales of hay. I know that.”
“To see a guy that big that could run like Phil could, it was unique at North Dakota State,” Bradley said. “So he really stood out. Then on top of it, the type of person he is, and what he brings every day, and his passion. He’s just a unique person and I was fortunate to be around him.”
The Jaguars’ defense hasn’t really been giving up fewer yards during the team’s recent hot streak — wins in four of the last five games. However, it has been taking the ball away.
Jacksonville created eight turnovers the first eight games. It has forced 10 in the last five.