Paul Posluszny, the hard-hitting, big-tackling, blanket-covering middle linebacker for the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars in his 11-year NFL career, is now a Jets fan.
How's that again? It's not too complicated. Posluszny is a huge admirer of the Jets' new head coach, Robert Saleh.
"He was our linebackers coach at the time," Posluszny said of his tenure as a player with Saleh as a member of Gus Bradley's Jaguars coaching staff from 2014-16. "You look at him, the command presence, the understanding that he had for not only what the linebackers need to do on the field but the entire defense, the way he was able to communicate things in a crystal-clear manner, we said, OK, at some point he's obviously going to be a coordinator and could go beyond that to be a head man.
"He has that type of presence and that type of influence over his players."
Posluszny, the former Penn State star, retired as a player after the 2017 season with the Jags. While he's now working on his master of business administration at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, he said it wasn't hard to figure out why Saleh was ticketed for bigger things such as NFL head coach.
"He's made for that type of position, the leadership position where he can influence an entire organization," Posluszny told Eric Allen of newyorkjets.com. "He's trustworthy, he's determined, his guys are devoted to him, and he wants what's best for his players and the organization. When you put all those together with his ability to communicate clearly and to lead, I think he's in a perfect role."
The former player then took his former coach's philosophy "all the way down to a player perspective."
"I know always the main emphasis was that he wanted to create things and teach in a way that made things very clear and simple for his players so that they could perform at their highest level on Sunday," he said. "He was all about helping players develop and learn and creating the type of environment where they could just strictly focus on ball and play fast on Sunday to do the best job that they could."
Saleh at his Jets introductory "Zoom" conferences with reporters last week, detailed his philosophy of "All Gas No Brake" and credited Posluszny and his Jacksonville teammates with the concept. Posluszny returned the favor.
"I have to credit him definitely with the saying," the former LB said. "When he was coaching our linebacker group in Jacksonville, we wanted to come up with a philosophy of how we wanted to play. We always talk about playing fast, not only physically but mentally — that's even more important, just having a crystal-clear mindset and knowing, regardless of what happens on the field, you're going full speed, all out all the time. If you make mistakes, you make mistakes, but just make them extremely fast and play as fast and as physically as you can. And that developed into the 'All Gas No Brake' mantra."
Posluszny in his career enjoyed a number of memorable plays and games against the Jets. He had three double-digit tackle outings, and a pair of his 15 career interceptions came vs. the Green & White. One against Mark Sanchez in overtime at the old Meadowlands stadium set up the game-winning field goal in the Bills' 16-13 victory in 2009.
Despite that recent history, Posluszny said he's very excited to be a member of Jets nation with the Saleh era ahead.
"I have to be. I'm rooting for Coach Saleh for sure," he said. "You want him to have success. He deserves it. I know he's going to do everything he can to make the New York Jets a successful franchise. ... Plus my uncle's a Jets season ticket holder, so it's already in the family."