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May 11, 2012

Kuechly will line up outside for Panthers

The question of where Luke Kuechly will play has been settled, at least for now.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Kuechly, the team's first-round draft pick, will begin his NFL career at weakside linebacker, allowing veteran Jon Beason to keep his preferred spot at middle linebacker.

Kuechly, the No. 9 overall pick in last month's draft, played middle linebacker at Boston College, where he set NCAA records by averaging 15.9 tackles per game last season and 14.0 stops a game over this three-year career.

We'll start him on the outside, and then we'll rotate him into the inside. Jon will be on the inside,” Rivera said Friday following the first of three practices during the team's rookie minicamp.

I've talked with Jon about him playing inside and outside, as well. It's going to be an interesting experiment as we go through this because quite frankly we want to make sure we put the best unit on the football field and the best combination of players.”

Beason (Achilles) and weakside linebacker Thomas Davis (knee) are both coming off major surgeries that sidelined them for most of the 2011 season. Davis tore the ACL in his right knee for the third time in less than two years.

Rivera was asked how confident he was that Beason and Davis would be full speed in the fall.

I'm pretty confident. I think based on what I've seen, it's just a matter of time before they're 100 percent and on the football field doing things that we need them to do,” Rivera said.

Rivera said the Panthers could rotate as many as six linebackers in coordinator Sean McDermott's schemes. When Beason and Davis were out last season, strongside linebacker James Anderson broke Beason's single-season tackles record with 174.

Kuechly lined up in the middle and outside during Friday's two-hour practice in shorts and helmets.

They're both a little bit different than what I played in college. You've got to adjust on the fly. You've got to learn two different positions,” Kuechly said.

“They're kind of the same in some aspects, and they're kind of different, too. So you've got to learn Mike (middle) and you've got to learn Will (weakside) and put them both together.”

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on May 11, 2012 at 06:57 PM | Permalink


Interesting. Cam TD play SAM?

Posted by: EFord | May 11, 2012 7:41:45 PM

That's about how I figured it IF Beason was at close to full strength...good news if everyone is healthy; figuring out where/when/how everybody plays is a 'fun' problem...

Posted by: PantherFan | May 11, 2012 10:26:24 PM

I'm startin to think we don"t need any DE and DT's since our LB corps can do it all!

Posted by: chanrock | May 12, 2012 2:42:03 AM


TD isn't really built like a Sam, and he doens't have the knees of a Sam LB, who usually is responsible for taking on blockers. That LB needs to be a thumper.

James Anderson has the SLB on wraps,
Beason in the middle
Kuekley as the new WLB
TD(when is knee isn't a liability) is the first LB of the bench, he will see playing time.
Antwan Applewhite is the pashrushing LB, and will see time as OLB standing up and rushing the passer..

I wonder who the 6th LB is who could get playing time...I hope not Senn, everyone is high on Senn because of his tackle total.. He had so many tackles because every team threw and ran right at him!!

Posted by: Mitch | May 12, 2012 7:25:29 AM

I really wish we took a DT or DE in the 1st rd, but you can't deny Kuechly's abililty and tackling prowess. I just hope the DT's don't get blown off the ball and allow the OG's to run upfield and occupy our LB's. You need DT's that can take 2 blockers away, to allow our LB's to roam free and make tackles sideline to sideline. Also, where is our CB help? That was our #1 or #2 priority coming into the draft, and we only got 1 guy? And i think he's 26yo or something.

Posted by: Nate | May 14, 2012 11:04:42 AM

I liked Thomas Davis when he was healthy, but man, 3 tears of the same ACL and Rivera actually thinks this guy has a chance to contribute anything to this team. hate to say it, but I would be surprised to see T.Davis make it out of the first 3 games without injuring his knee again.

Posted by: Yomari Butkis | May 14, 2012 11:13:32 AM

This is such a horrible decision. Marty loves moving players out of their natural positions. It's the reason T Davis has never amounted to anything. Hurney meddling with the lineup again, gotta love it.

Kuechly should be the middle linebacker and it shouldn't even be a discusssion. He is the superior player to Beason both talent wise and health wise and should remain in his natural position and on the field for 3 downs. I can understand wanting to leave Beason at MLB because he's been absolutely pathetic when forced to play outside, but why stunt Kuechly's growth as a player to accomodate a guy that is coming off a major injury and may end up being a liability?


Posted by: Frank | May 14, 2012 11:31:25 AM

its hurney's fault that thomas davis blew his acl repeatedly? amazing.

and hurney decides where guys play now? he calling the plays too or just designing the playbook? probably running offseason conditioning program too right?

Posted by: charlottean | May 14, 2012 7:33:02 PM

Clearly Jerry R. will not be replacing Hurney with anyone that posts to this blog. TD's injury was caused by moving from Safety to WILL? LOL! DT and CB were our biggest needs? Just shut up.

Our biggest needs were Special Teams, Guard, Safety, and WR2. Gettis/LaFell may be able to step up. Special Teams were addressed. Guard was addressed. Best Player Available was taken with #9 pick.

Barron was taken before our pick, and there was no one else that was a clear upgrade, so we will have to hope that our current starters make huge improvements, or our two free agent safeties can win the job.

Finally, our DT's looked good for the last 4-6 weeks of the season. That is a position (like WR) that takes time to adjust from College to Pro. Did you see any rookies make the pro bowl from DT? No, the pro bowlers are all veterans. We have Edwards returning from injury. He will add a serviceable starter to the rotation. We have McClain, Fua, Shirley, and Kearse entering their second year. Fua was not awful, and Shirley and Kearse were actually serviceable late in the year.

So we get a little improvement from getting an off-season and having a year to develop from the young guys. Add the returning veteran, and we go 3 deep at NT and Undertackle. This may even turn into a strength, and these guys are all under 25.

Posted by: SupermanWears89 | May 15, 2012 7:56:28 AM

Spoken like a true homer.

You evaluate "talent" with blinders on, Marty Jr.
FYI, "servicable" is not a good thing unless you enjoy 6 win seasons every year.

Maybe you should be the one to shut up instead of telling others to do so?


Posted by: Frank | May 15, 2012 11:25:11 AM

Frank, it's a good thing YOU aren't running things. Beason is a "proven" All-Pro MIDDLE LB. If Luke is better, then he will have to prove it IN the NFL and beat Beason for the starting job. For now, Beason STAYS in the Middle. Got it?

Posted by: Chuck | May 15, 2012 6:56:22 PM

hate to break it to you but LB was a major need. not only do we have 1 starter returning from a major injury, we have another guy that MIGHT be able to play again and then conner is gone in free agency. we replaced conner and davis in one move. a cheaper, better one mind you. and it offers insurance in case beason has a set back and misses time.

edwards is more than "serviceable".

if you look at personnel, hurney has been great. better than most. when we haven't been devastated by injuries, we've won. We've had some years where we had really really good teams, but devastating injuries to either delhomme, all of our running backs, all of our defense, whatever. other years, we won. 2010 we cleared house. last year we started over, now people call us contenders......how is this a personnel problem?

Posted by: charlottean | May 17, 2012 4:57:41 PM

I love excuses. Go look at the Green Bay SB team and then come talk to me about injuries.

Posted by: Frank | May 22, 2012 3:32:44 PM

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