Former NFL linebacker Paul Posluszny spoke exclusively to Canadian Sportsbooks and is convinced that the Bills are going to win the Super Bowl.
The Penn State legend admitted he could have lost millions without the new NIL contracts being given to college athletes. Posluszny also criticized the ‘Roughing the passer penalties’ telling Canadian Sportsbooks, it’s ‘ruining the modern game’.
If you would like to use any quotes, you must credit and link to https://www.canadiansportsbooks.com as the original source. Here are the highlights of the interview.
Highlights of the Interview
- Buffalo Bills will win the Super Bowl
- Jaguars right to choose [controversial pick] Travon Walker
- Robert Saleh has turned the Jets around
- Micah Parsons on course for Pro Football Hall of Fame
- Wisconsin has the most intimidating atmosphere in college football
- We can still do better to protect NFL players from concussions
- NFL wants the violent aspect of football to continue
- Roughing the passer penalties are ruining the modern game
- On NIL contracts — I probably lost out on millions
Q: What has impressed you the most about Buffalo’s emergence as one of the top teams in the NFL?
Paul Posluszny: They look so good right now, especially like you mentioned after that last win against Kansas City.
The fact that they’ve been able to transition to have such great success and so fast. The quarterback is playing well. Defensively, they look great. They play fast and aggressive on defense.
From a coaching standpoint, they’ve been able to combine all these pieces together, get everybody to work together and play together in almost a short period of time. It’s been very impressive to watch. They’re an exciting team.
Q: Do you have Buffalo winning the Super Bowl? If not, who do you think has the best chance to win Super Bowl 57?
Paul Posluszny: It’s going to be hard to bet against them. Especially when you think about, coming out of the AFC- it’s them and Kansas City. They would be the two top teams in that realm.
The way that they competed against Kansas City last Sunday was so impressive, that you have to be able to say that Buffalo definitely needs to be at the top of that list.
Q: With the way the Bills have started, do you think Josh Allen will be the NFL MVP this year?
Paul Posluszny: He’s definitely a front runner right now. He’s playing at such a high level. It’s so impressive to watch him play because of the way he can move, how big he is, and his size.
I played middle linebacker in the NFL, I look at him and I’d say you’d be a tough guy to tackle because of the way he moves, his size and the way he can escape the pocket.
So, seeing him perform the way that he is right now, it’s very impressive. And I would say he’s at the top of that list.
Q: How many Super Bowl rings do you think that Josh Allen will end up with when his career is over?
Paul Posluszny: Your guess is as good as mine. If they can keep that core group of guys together in Buffalo. Coach McDermott has done such a great job of building a foundation, building a culture where you can consistently improve, get better, and bring guys in, that automatically buy into the way that they do things.
There’s no reason why they can’t have success for many years to come.
Q: Do you think that the Bills should acquire McCaffrey? And do you think the Bills need a star running back to compete for the Lombardi Trophy?
Paul Posluszny: It is an interesting move. Obviously there’s the relationship there from Coach McDermott with McCaffrey in Carolina.
Whenever you look at teams that have continued success, not only do they have an outstanding quarterback that can do things like Josh Allen can.
But to add a dynamic running back to really be able to stretch the field from both a passing standpoint, then have a guy that can catch the ball out of the back field, he creates many challenges for NFL defenses.
He would absolutely be an additional asset for that team.
Q: The Jags have dropped three straight games to fall to third place in the AFC South. How do you think the Jaguars can turn their season around?
Paul Posluszny: One game at a time. They’re in a position where we’ve seen great flashes of success. Where all these new pieces are starting to come together, where the quarterback’s playing well.
Head coach Doug Peterson has done a great job of kind of changing the environment, especially coming out of the season that was last year in Jacksonville.
And really change comes one game at a time. Now it’s almost like you need to get that winning feeling, then continue to improve and go from there and get better and improve and go from there. When you look at their roster and the talent that they have, you say, there’s no reason why they can’t have success.
Now a lot of things have to go right as well. You have to stay healthy and execute well. But, I think the future is still very positive for Jacksonville.
Q: How do you rate the job that Doug Pederson has done thus far?
Paul Posluszny: I think when you look at the environment that he walked into, with a situation that was last season.
He comes into a situation where a lot of turmoil, a lot of changes are going on, and he’s a head coach that was able to bring immediate stability, immediate credibility. Where he can walk in and say this is the way we’re gonna do things from now on. The fact that the players have really supported him and brought into that.
I think that speaks volumes about the coach. He’s done an outstanding job of kind of building the foundation for what he wants the organization to look like in the future. Now like you said, they’re 2-4 right now. Everybody in Jacksonville wants them to be better than that and they’ll continue to improve.
I think with the job that he’s done, and the way that he does things, the commanding presence that he has and the way that the guys respond to him, I think everybody’s very impressed with him.
Q: Jacksonville enters Week 7 favored by 3 points over the 5-1 NY Giants. Does this line surprise you and how big of an advantage is home field in the NFL?
Paul Posluszny: It is. When I saw that line, I said, okay, Jacksonville’s coming off three straight losses and the New York Giants are really good right now, so that was interesting.
Obviously, I’m gonna support the Jaguars through and through but now when you talk about home field advantage, it can be significant, especially at certain points of the year when you know you’re going to have the fan support, you’re playing at home, your family is there. The atmosphere of being at home can change things for sure.
Q: What do you think of Walker’s performance thus far and how much of a challenge is it to move from a 4-3 to a 3-4 scheme?
Paul Posluszny: That’s the thing, so those two questions together, you look at how he’s played, we’ve seen unbelievable flashes.
This is the reason why he was the top pick for the Jaguars. Now that coupled with the transition, at least for me, changing from doing things a very specific and very certain way in a 4-3 and then trying to transition over to 3-4, it can be a challenge.
So I think as we continue to watch him. The biggest thing is, do we see him improve throughout the year? Do we see him consistently getting better, learning more, understanding the defense more and getting more comfortable because that’s when I think he’s really going to shine.
The ceiling is limitless for him, with his abilities, his talent, the way he can move and his energy level. So it’s gonna be exciting to see. He just needs to continue to learn and adapt to the NFL but he’s an exciting player to watch, that’s for sure. I think he’s gonna be an outstanding player for the Jaguars for many years.
Q: Do you think that the Jaguars have held Lawrence back by not giving him enough weapons on offense?
Paul Posluszny: When you look at what he has surrounding him right now, obviously, you have your franchise quarterback. Are you able to protect him? When you look at the tackles, you say they’re the right and left tackles. These are guys that are very solid players that can protect our franchise guy.
I feel like they’ve done a great job of putting individual pieces around him, to give him the targets that he needs to have success. They could have obviously gone offensive heavy and picked some other different weapons for him to have access to.
When you look at building out the composition of a team and everything that’s needed, number one, you have your franchise quarterback, you have people that can protect him. You want to be able to build out a strong defense to support that as well.
Then give the quarterback the weapons that he needs to have success on offense. So I think piece by piece, they’re doing a great job of putting that puzzle together so that they can have long term success.
Q: As a middle linebacker, you went up against two of the best NFL quarterbacks of all-time in Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Did you do anything differently to prepare for those matchups during the week?
Paul Posluszny: With those guys in particular and there’s some other quarterbacks that I would add to that list, Phillip Rivers was another one, Drew Brees was another one.
Where you knew when you were playing those guys, they had such a great understanding of the defense that we were running that if we didn’t make small adjustments with our movements, our alignments, that they would know exactly what we were in at all times. Which is a horrible situation for the defense to be in.
Where the quarterback can just walk up to the line of scrimmage and say, Posluszny align at six yards, they’re in cover two, I know exactly what I’m gonna do. That’s what you want to avoid. So when we would play those types of elite quarterbacks who had such a great understanding of the game, we knew that we would have to stem our alignments just a little bit differently, we’d have to disguise our coverages just a little bit more in order to make it challenging for them.
That was always hard to do because of their experience level, how they understood the game, but that was the biggest change in preparation. Just being able to find small little ways, small little adjustments that we could make to help make the quarterbacks reads more challenging.
Q: What do you think of the job Robert Saleh did in New York with a Jets’ franchise that has had just one winning season in the past decade?
Paul Posluszny: Unbelievable, can’t speak highly enough about coach Saleh. He was an outstanding linebacker coach. That was the thing when he was our linebacker coach, the way that he had command of the room, the way that he was able to teach us, we said, Okay, unfortunately we know he’s not gonna be a linebacker coach for very long.
He had those types of capabilities, he just had that presence and that leadership. It was infectious, so to see him have success early on with the New York Jets, it’s awesome. Just so happy for him, cause number one, he’s an outstanding person.
He’s an outstanding person that does things the right way and is helping this franchise grow and perform the right way.
So he’s very easy to cheer for, let’s put it that way, but he has done an outstanding job with the Jets.
Q: Who do you believe is the best linebacker in the NFL right now?
Paul Posluszny: The fact that you just mentioned San Fran. I really love watching Fred Warner for San Fran. I think he’s unbelievable and when I think of middle linebackers, I think of the pure, 4-3 guy that lines up in the middle of the field.
So to me, he’s on that list. Then I think of guys that have been around for a long time, that have played at a high level for many years. Eric Kendricks comes to mind from Minnesota, Bobby Wagner with the LA Rams, guys that have played at a high level for a long period of time.
Those are guys that are fun to watch because of the way they play the game. It’s exciting to watch them play because they can do it all. They’re great in coverage, they’re great stopping the run, they play fast and aggressive. So those are guys I love to watch.
Q: What does Penn State have to do to cover the spread and do you have them winning on Saturday?
Paul Posluszny: Always going to have Penn State winning, that’s for sure. But then when you look at Minnesota, and the way that Penn State matches up against them, thinking about the traditional Minnesota obviously always stopping the run comes first. With the way that their offense is distributed, the way that they move the ball throughout the field, stopping the run comes first.
I think if the Penn State defense can do that, play well offensively. When I say play well, I mean play smart, protect the football, make great decisions with the football. I think they should be in a good spot for a victory.
Q: How do you rate the job James Franklin has done at Penn State?
Paul Posluszny: When you think about head coaches in the college ranks right now, it’s probably never been more difficult to be a head football coach at a major college program.
When you think of all the challenges that they face that they didn’t have to years ago, transfer portal, name image and likeness situations and how that’s being used as a recruiting tool.
So when you look at Coach Franklin and say he’s been able to come into Penn State where there was still some volatility left over and some uncertainty. He’s been able to recruit outstanding players, get the vast majority of them to be committed to Penn State Football and we look at where they’re at right now.
I mean they did obviously have a tough loss against Michigan but they’re competitive every week, they’re playing well, they’re playing smart. I think Coach Franklin has done an unbelievable job with Penn State Football. As a former Penn Stater and a guy that bleeds blue and white. It’s great to see because you can tell he has so much love for Penn State football, for the university, everything that football means and for the state of Pennsylvania, so it’s exciting to see.
Q: Is there a Penn State linebacker that you’ve been impressed with this season or a player that you believe is next in line to carry the tradition?
Paul Posluszny: That’s a good question. I think when I watch those guys, it seems like they have such a good group right now. It’s almost like at any moment, one of them can make a splash play and look outstanding. So I would say overall, they’re a very talented linebacker core, it seems like they have a lot of depth for players, there are multiple players who can play at a high level for them. So it’ll be interesting to watch them progress throughout the season and the next couple years to see if somebody can become the next Micah Parsons.
I mean when we look at him and what he’s doing in the NFL, it’s so impressive. I was talking to another former All-American and All-Pro Penn State linebacker, Sean Lee, he was with the Dallas Cowboys and I said tell me about Micah Parsons. He said “never seen a player with his size, his athleticism and his speed at the linebacker position, that can rush the passer like he does, but also then line up four yards off the ball and play true linebacker.”
So he is so exciting to watch, he’s changed the position.
Q: Who could be the next Paul Posluszny as well?
Paul Posluszny: I don’t fit in that category, I don’t think.
Q: Which opposing Big 10 Stadium was the toughest college football atmosphere to play in?
Paul Posluszny: I’ll tell you what the one that immediately comes to mind is when you play at Wisconsin. Camp Randall Stadium, in the fourth quarter when they play ‘Jump Around’, the whole stadium goes nuts and it’s rocking. It’s almost like you can feel the ground moving beneath your feet. That was always a tough place to play, a very exciting place to play, but you could tell that they love football, they loved the Wisconsin Badgers and it always made it a very exciting, but hostile environment to play in.
Q: How has the perception of concussions and head injuries changed since you last played in 2017?
Paul Posluszny: Hopefully I’m correct in saying it’s only gotten better. In a sense that you think about when I first got into the NFL, concussions were something that you were still at the point in 2007, where you kind of shrugged them off and went back in the game.
Now, when I was in my last few years in the NFL, we started to truly understand the significance of concussions, where if a guy got a head injury on the field, he came out and all of his players were supportive of that knowing that head injuries are something we no longer mess with.
It’s a very serious thing and it’s not something to tough out. I think the awareness of that and the simple knowledge of that where guys truly understand now that head injuries are not something that you can just, to use the football terms, just suck it up and get back out. They don’t do that anymore and, and they shouldn’t.
So I think we are continually heading in the right direction when it comes to treating head injuries, treating concussions, and understanding the significance of them.
Q: Looking back at the Tua Tagovailoa incident, do you think enough is being done to protect players from serious injuries?
Paul Posluszny- I think that’s something that we can always get better at. It’s something that as long as there are circumstances that are going to happen and we need to be able to say as players, coaches, and as the NFL say, how do we improve this? How do we ensure that that situation doesn’t happen again? But then also be proactive and say, how can we improve things for the future? Because we all want the game of football to continue. We want, let’s be honest, the violent aspect of the game, which is so important to it, to continue as well.
You want people to be able to compete in an environment where they know the risks going in, but they also know that they’re protected and there’s procedures in place to make sure that this is a violent game, but we’re gonna do everything we can to do it right, to do it safely and to keep football as the game that we all love.
Q: You were only officially diagnosed with one concussion during your NFL career. Do you believe you played through concussion symptoms at times, and if so, how many?
Paul Posluszny- Thankfully, I have a very hard head, so I only have that one.
But I think looking back, especially early in my career, were things that are now maybe labeled as a concussion. Did we fight through it? Probably. But I feel like that’s simply the progression of players, coaches and trainers understanding the significance of it.
At that point like we said, it was something that you just kind of fought through and then we got smarter about it and understood the significance of it, and then we put procedures in place so that’s no longer the issue. So when I think about it, yeah, did we see a positive progression? Absolutely, and as long as that continues, we’ll be on the right path.
Q: When a potential head injury occurs, like the Tua Tagovailoa incident, how much of the onus is on the players to remove themselves from the game compared to the coaches and the medical staff?
Paul Posluszny- Obviously I think from a medical perspective, they have to be so on point to realize that they’re there to protect the players, to keep them safe and then look after their health and wellbeing because for the guys on the field, you want to compete and you never want to leave, it’s always so challenging.
The worst part about getting hurt is knowing that you’re leaving the field and your brothers that you compete with are still out there and you want to be able to stay with them.
But from a player’s perspective and a teammate’s perspective, understanding that injuries are part of the game and you have to be so supportive of teammates to be able to say, if you get hurt, you have to come out for the benefit of your long term health and for the benefit of the team really.
Everybody involved in that decision to understand that yes, this is a highly competitive environment, but the health and safety of the players still needs to come first.
Q: What’s your take on how the roughing the passer penalty is being called in 2022?
Paul Posluszny: It’s such a challenge, especially from a defensive guy. I look at it and say this is changing the outcome of games, drives that should have ended are now being extended another series because of a call and that’s the part that makes you a little bit frustrated where you’re saying, I don’t know if those calls should be able to change, they have such a significant impact on the outcome of games because that changes everything.
So it’s such a fine line because there are quarterbacks that you wanna be able to protect and rightfully so, but the game still needs to be extremely competitive and it needs to be fair and in the simplest sense where to have an official make a call that has an enormous impact, an outsize impact on a potential outcome of game that’s challenging for players to accept.
Q: Do you believe that too many of the rule changes have been geared towards protecting only offensive players?
Paul Posluszny: I don’t have the stats, but when you look at them the simple answer is yes. Just like you said it’s putting all the emphasis on making the defenders adjust. You can have a guy that’s trying to do the right thing, you can only hit guys in certain areas, you’ve gotta remember these are men that are running it full speed, trying to play fast and aggressive and then you say well I gotta target this area and I have to stay away from his head. You end up putting in all of these constraints that make it harder and harder for defenders to be able to play the game the way that it’s supposed to be played and that can be challenging.
So there needs to be some sort of balance where the game is still the game of football that we all love, where the players are protected, but I would say a balance of the risks associated with putting additional constraints on defenders and saying what they can and can’t do in protecting offensive players.
Q: Mel Tucker is now the coach of the Michigan State Spartans, one of Penn State’s biggest rivals in the Big 10. Did you give Tucker any advice when he took the job?
Paul Posluszny- I said congratulations to him. When he was a defensive coordinator for us, he was outstanding, we loved him to death. He was one of those guys that as your defensive coordinator, you would do anything for. So to be able to see him lead a group of young men at the college level is awesome.
It’s great for college football, it’s great for those players. Now there’s always gonna be one Saturday every fall where I’m gonna cheer against him, you know when he was with playing the Nittany Lions. But for the rest of them I am fully supportive of him because he’s such a great person, and I know he does an outstanding job of leading those young men and helping them develop into great football players and great student athletes.
Q: With NIL contracts now available, how much money do you estimate your NIL would’ve been worth as the reigning Dick Butkus Award and Chuck Bednarik Award winner?
Paul Posluszny- That’s an interesting question, and I’ve been removed now from it to a point where I’m not aware of the evaluations that are being thrown around for those players. But I could tell you this, when I was playing in my senior year, it was after a game, I was walking home with my family or walking back to our dorms with my family and a gentleman comes up to me and says, “Hey, you know, Paul, great game, congratulations”, and he almost said it in a not condescending way, but said in a laughing manner said “By the way, I make t-shirts, these great t-shirts with a blue 31 on it”, my number at the time, I’d also like to say that I was just borrowing from Shane Conlan and Andre Collins.
But he said, “You do not want to know how much money I’ve made off of you.” And I said, What? What do you mean? He then told me about his t-shirt business. So when you think of that it’s an interesting problem to have.
With the dollars being thrown around your guess is as good as mine, I’ve kind of lost track of who gets what now in that environment.
It’s gonna completely change the dynamic of what it means to be a student athlete at the college level. When you think of the money being put into that environment, it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. Hopefully we’ll find a way for it to benefit all and it’ll be good for college sports.
Q: I was very surprised to see that you only made the playoffs one time during your NFL career. Talk a little bit about what that experience was like and how hard it is to win games consistently in the NFL.
Paul Posluszny- So many things have to go right to have continued success in the NFL on a team level. You have to stay healthy, you have to have a quarterback that plays well, you have to have a great defense. So when you think of all those variables that have to go right almost all the time.
That’s why NFL number one is so great because each year it’s truly any team that can be in a great position to have success, if all those variables end up favorable to them.
Our playoff run with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017/2018 was such an unbelievable experience for me because it was my 11th year, I had played a decade of football and never been to the playoffs and that can start to wear on you, so you finally get an opportunity to go. It was just so exciting, so exciting for the city of Jacksonville, so exciting for the Jaguars to be in that situation where we’re competing against, we played the Buffalo Bills in our first playoff game. Then we got to go to Pittsburgh to play the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers. So what an unbelievable environment to be in. I just remember it was so exciting for our team, our organization, and really all of Northeast Florida because the Jaguars hadn’t been to the playoffs in a long time and we finally competed at the level where we deserved to go.
Q: How those early battles with your brothers prepared you for the challenges you faced in the NFL and later on in life?
Paul Posluszny- I’ll tell you this, number one, my older brother Stan is the most athletic out of the brothers. My younger brother Dave is the toughest out of the brothers. I was just fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time and I truly believe that if I didn’t have them, if I didn’t have my older brother Stan, who was such a great influence on my life, and then my younger brother Dave being in a situation where I wanted to do things right to try to be a good role model for him because he was five years younger. That helped me so much, collegiately and then playing in the NFL. My two brothers are very instrumental in the NFL career that I had.
But like you said, sports were a huge part of our childhood growing up. Our parents made the decision early on that we have five kids, we’ve gotta figure out a way to keep them busy somehow. So thankfully they got us all involved in sports, which looking back on it was an absolute blessing. But you’re absolutely right, athletics are a big part of our family.
Q: How did you get into what you’re doing now?
Paul Posluszny- Yeah, absolutely. So after I finished my football career, I said I want to do something else. I have a lot of other interests and nothing quite as much as I love football. So I went to graduate school and I got an MBA from Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon and an opportunity came up through an internship to work for Raytheon Missiles and Defense. The aerospace and defense industry is something that I’ve always had an enormous love or passion for and this opportunity came up through an internship and I joined on with them.
It’s surrounded by outstanding people. You end up working with a lot of people that were former military officers or people that served, which I love because it’s interesting, some people are fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars or the New York Yankees or New York Giants.
I’m a fan of the United States Marine Corps in the US Army and Navy. I hold them in such high regard. So to be able to be associated with a company that helps provide them with what they need to ultimately to protect our country and our allies, it seemed like a great situation.
So I’m way over my head, let’s put it that way from a learning perspective, but at Raytheon, you’re surrounded by outstanding people that are willing to help and the mission that we’re dedicated to is a very honorable one. So it’s been a great experience.
Q: Do you have any advice for retired NFL players?
Paul Posluszny- I’ll tell you what, I’m still trying to figure that out to be honest with you, because It’s such a challenge, right? You’re a part of the football team, something that you love. There’s something that you’re so passionate about and you’re surrounded by guys that you view as brothers and it’s extremely hard to replicate that environment outside of football.
I know that being able to channel that passion and that love for something into another area is so critical. I feel like the guys that have challenges are ones that are still struggling to find that path where they say, I was fully dedicated and fully devoted for something for so long, what should I do now? So being able to truly look internally and say what is it that I want to dedicate my life to? I mean family, charitable work, working at Raytheon Missiles and Defense, so there’s so many options out there. It’s about finding that passion that you can dedicate all that love and energy to, that’s the challenge for sure.