Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny is the consummate middle linebacker.
He gets the job done, not through elite-level athleticism, but with discipline, technique and strength. There's a reason the guy's on pace for his second consecutive 160-tackle season which would make seven consecutive seasons in which the Hopewell, Pa., product would eclipse 100 tackles in a season.
Starting with Buffalo in 2007, Pos, a Penn State alumnus, has been a solid linebacker throughout his entire career. But he faces a difficult assignment in the Steelers' yards-from-scrimmage machine, Le'Veon Bell.
The key for both players is the game of chicken they'll be playing. Who will commit first? Will it be Posluszny, making a forward move on Bell in the hole, or will it be Bell, cutting on Pos when he's balanced and capable of reacting at a much more efficient level?
Bell's 570 yards from scrimmage this season are largely the result of over-aggressive defenders coming straight at him, allowing him to juke to the side and make them miss completely. He picks up yards after contact because he's more slippery than powerful, and teams that fail to cut off his backside lane find themselves sprawled on the ground as Bell rambles for another seven or eight yards.
Bell will have some of those plays when the Steelers take on Posluszny's Jaguars in Week 5. The key for the Steelers' offense will be how they can set Bell up to have that cutback angle and how they can get Bell past Posluzsny, the team's best tackler.
Jacksonville is surrendering yards in bulk right now, something that must be infuriating for defensive-minded head coach Gus Bradley. Disciplined pursuit is the key to limiting Bell's impact and that assignment will rest squarely on the shoulders of the Jags' defense. Whether in the running game or short-passing game, the Jaguars are facing one of the NFL's most dynamic weapons, and they'll have to approach with cautious aggression if they expect to keep Bell under 100 yards from scrimmage for the first time this season.
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