Sometimes even coach Dick Jauron has to remind himself that middle linebacker Paul Posluszny is still pretty much a rookie in the NFL.
The second-round draft choice out of Penn State in 2007 played only 2 1/2 games last year before suffering a broken forearm that forced the Bills to put him on injured reserve for the season.
The kid they call Poz spent the rest of the year attending meetings and practices, but he was unable to participate physically and there was a question as to how long it would take him to regain his college form that helped him win the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker.
Well, in the first four games, it is apparent that Posluszny is far more advanced than an NFL rookie, even though he has now played in only seven NFL games.
Posluszny led the Bills with 31 tackles in the first three games, and then was credited with eight by the press box stat keepers in St. Louis during the Bills' 31-14 victory. He was much more involved in the blitz packages, and he recorded two notable quarterback hits on Trent Green, one that forced a third-down incompletion.
"We tend to forget how young he is in the NFL game," Jauron said. "He's really playing well, he's getting more and more in command of our scheme, making all the calls and the adjustments. He's one of many guys who we like having on this team."
Outside linebacker Kawika Mitchell loves the way Posluszny plays.
"You can just tell he's getting more and more comfortable every single week," said Mitchell, a six-year veteran. "He won the Butkus; he won that for a reason. He's a good player, so the more comfortable he gets, the more tackles and big plays he's going to make."
Posluszny is about as old-fashioned an NFL player as there is in this day and age. He's your typical meat-and-potatoes guy who really could care not less how many plays he makes, as long as the Bills win, which they have done all four times they have taken the field this year.
"I don't feel like a rookie, but there's so much room to grow, and I know that," he said. "I look at a guy like Kawika, he's been around six years and he knows so much and sees things a little quicker than I do. I can't wait to be at that level, to have all that game experience. I feel comfortable, I know what I'm doing out there, but I can definitely see that there's a lot more maturity and a lot more room to grow."
With Posluszny anchoring the middle of the defense, the Bills hadn't allowed a team to gain 100 yards on the ground in the first three weeks. The Rams erupted for 148 in the first half but then were limited to 19 in the second half.
"There were a couple big plays that we should have been able to stop," Posluszny said. "They weren't doing anything special. They ran a couple quick plays that got us. We know we can come in and make some adjustments and as long as we play our game and do our job, we'll be in good shape. We have a lot of confidence in our abilities."