JACKSONVILLE – Paul Poslusnzy was talking recently about the not-too-distant future.
He was talking about what might be, what could be.
The veteran middle linebacker specifically was talking about what it would mean if the Jaguars – the team, the defense, everything – were to improve in 2016 as much as he thinks is possible. That's when the smile snuck on to the veteran's face.
It was a smile that was good to see.
"It would make everything worth it," Posluszny said.
Don't take that phrase lightly, because when it comes to "everything" that has gone on around the Jaguars in recent seasons … well, Posluszny has seen a bunch of "everything."
He saw 5-11 in Jack Del Rio's final season. He saw 2-14 in Mike Mularkey's only season.
He saw 4-12 in Gus Bradley's first season, and he has seen the two seasons since. Posluszny has talked a lot during that time about believing in the culture being built by Bradley, and he has talked about believing in the talent being compiled by General Manager David Caldwell.
That's why Posluszny's smile was real during the offseason program when asked about the possibilities of 2016. He knows this is his best chance since joining the Jaguars to be part of a winner. He knows, too, that in his 10th NFL season, his chances at being part of a winner are dwindling.
The last part is an NFL fact at Posluszny's age, but you get the idea talking to him that age isn't the main reason he wants so much for this season to be the season the Jaguars make strides.
You get the feeling he wants it because he absolutely believes what he has said often this offseason and previous offseasons – that this franchise has been built the right way recently, that the building process is going to yield results.
Posluszny has talked about those things before. He has been optimistic before.
This year is different.
"We have more confidence in ourselves, in what we can do," Posluszny said. "Our standards are higher. Our expectations of what we can do are much higher and rightfully so. It's time."
That's because of many things, Posluszny said. Talent is one reason. Coaching is another. All of those things coming together with some added chemistry and experience matters, too. When Posluszny looks at his young teammates he sees things he hasn't seen before – exciting things that should mean success.
"We've added talent; we've added playmakers," Posluszny said. "You see Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns and you say, 'OK, they're headed this way. They're constantly improving. You add new talent to the defense. We tighten up fundamentally and you say that should be a recipe for success."
The undertone of Posluszny's thoughts, of course, is the reality that whatever the Jaguars' success this season, his role could be different than past seasons. There's a possibility at some point he could be a first-and-second-down player with rookie Myles Jack playing in passing situations. He gets that. The competitor in him will fight to be on the field. The teammate in him will be OK if it's otherwise.
"If I'm not the best person out there, then I shouldn't be out there," Posluszny said. "At this point in my career, winning is the ultimate goal, doing what I can to do to help this team win. If my best isn't good enough, then someone else should be out there.
"I think I still compete. In training camp and preseason, we'll see. I'll compete to be in the mix."
And the thought of playing a veteran's role, a leadership role? Of possibly helping the player who could someday help shape the future of the Jaguars' linebacker corps? It's a role he has played with third-year veteran Telvin Smith recent seasons, and one he will embrace with Jack, too.
"It's obvious he's going to be a stud football player," Posluszny said. "I'm excited to help him and bring him along. He's going to help this team right away. He's the future. He and Telvin Smith are the future. If I can accelerate that, that's a good thing."
That's because as Posluszny sees it, anything he can do, anything to win … because winning would make a whole lot of what he has been through and seen in the last five years very worth it indeed.
"We've had tough times since we've been here – very tough record-wise," Posluszny said. "To have an opportunity to be here when we see finally see those thing turn the corner – because it's going to – that would be a great experience to be a part of that, to see that.
"To finally see things come around, to see that excitement …"
Yes, Posluszny's smile recently when talking about the immediate future – what could be – was good to see. It's nothing compared to what it would be if the season he believes possible actually happens.
Now, that … well, that would be even better to see.