Panthers linebackers look to turn weakness into strength

It’s still a little early to characterize the Carolina Panthers’ linebacker situation as an embarrassment of riches.

Heck, because of injuries to two projected starters, the Panthers’ linebacker corps was an embarrassment, period, at times in 2011.

But coach Ron Rivera and coordinator Sean McDermott seem to be pleased with the potential for the unit to dramatically improve over 2011. Barring injuries – and, granted, that’s never a safe thing to do with the Carolina linebackers – the unit could be the strength of the defense, and perhaps the team.

The selection of Boston College star Luke Kuechly in the first round, with the return of three-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Jon Beason from an Achilles injury that limited him to one game last season, should provide the Panthers with plenty of flexibility.

One-time weakside starter Thomas Davis is trying to come back from another ACL surgery on his right knee – the third of his career and second in two seasons – so he’s still a long shot.

But if Davis can overcome the knee woes to be even a situational player, he’ll add to what could suddenly be a fairly deep position. And that’s not taking into account James Anderson, who set a franchise record for tackles last season as the strongside starter.

“So far, so good,” Rivera said after last week’s offseason training session.

For now, Beason, who is being held out of the OTAs, is slated as the starter in the middle, and Kuechly will play on the weak side, although he has taken some snaps at middle linebacker.

That could change in camp, but the plan seems to be to keep Beason, who has played weak linebacker in the past, at his most comfortable spot in the middle.

Kuechly, who played primarily in the middle in college but was on the field for all three downs, seems to have taken pretty well to the weak spot.

“He’s really fast, not just in terms of running, but also in (smarts),” Beason said.

Kuechly, who had seven interceptions in his college career, including three in each of his final two seasons, was regarded by many scouts as a three-down defender, and is clearly more than just a middle run-stuffer.

If the Panthers can reach their potential at linebacker, and with quarterback Cam Newton coming off a successful rookie season, Carolina could be a surprise contender in 2012.

Comments

comments

Strand to host two-week holiday hoops-apalooza

Strand to host two-week holiday hoops-apaloozaChristmas Day is only eight days away, and you know [more]

Wrestling: WB takes Shark Duels; NMB wins Hampton

Wrestling: WB takes Shark Duels; NMB wins HamptonWest Brunswick, the lone North Carolina team in the tournament, [more]

Lady Chants hang tough against No. 23 Syracuse

Lady Chants hang tough against No. 23 SyracuseThe Coastal Carolina women's basketball team fell 69-57 to 23rd-ranked [more]

Richardson puts Panthers up for sale amid charges

Richardson puts Panthers up for sale amid chargesShortly after the Carolina Panthers scored a big 31-24 win [more]

Chants shut down Cavs; host Wake Forest Monday

Chants shut down Cavs; host Wake Forest MondayJaylen Shaw scored 23 points and Zac Cuthbertson added 22 [more]

Boys Hoops: Sharks win in 2OT; Chiefs drop nail-biter

Boys Hoops: Sharks win in 2OT; Chiefs drop nail-biterThe North Myrtle Beach High boys basketball team lost a [more]

Girls Hoops: Sharks, Chiefs roll; Tigers take tough loss

Girls Hoops: Sharks, Chiefs roll; Tigers take tough lossThe Conway High girls basketball team suffered its third straight [more]

Wrestling: Braves finish strong to beat Warriors

Wrestling: Braves finish strong to beat WarriorsThe Socastee High wrestling team captured a big win over [more]

Chants return from exams to face tough hoops tests

Chants return from exams to face tough hoops testsAfter taking a week off for final exams, the Coastal [more]

Hoops: Strand teams turn up D to win by blowouts

Hoops: Strand teams turn up D to win by blowoutsThe Myrtle Beach High girls basketball team turned in a [more]

North Myrtle Beach boys, girls sweep rival Socastee

North Myrtle Beach boys, girls sweep rival SocasteeThe North Myrtle Beach High girls basketball team captured its [more]

Wrestling: MB tops Foxes; NMB sweeps quad match

Wrestling: MB tops Foxes; NMB sweeps quad matchThe Myrtle Beach High boys wrestling team captured a hard-fought [more]

Boys Hoops: Tigers hold off Seahawks; Sharks win

Boys Hoops: Tigers hold off Seahawks; Sharks winThe Myrtle Beach High boys basketball team took its best [more]

Girls Hoops: MB settles score with rivals; CF rolls

Girls Hoops: MB settles score with rivals; CF rollsThe Myrtle Beach High girls basketball team got a little [more]

Coastal's Adams named Sun Belt player of week

Coastal's Adams named Sun Belt player of weekCoastal Carolina senior guard Jas Adams has been named the [more]

Conway QB Grainger puts end to recruiting process

Conway QB Grainger puts end to recruiting processConway High quarterback D'Wuan Grainger entered his senior season as [more]

Carolina Forest boys rush past Northwood Academy

Carolina Forest boys rush past Northwood AcademyThe Carolina Forest boys basketball team claimed its second victory [more]

Panthers in playoff hunt; Quigley sticks with Vikes

Panthers in playoff hunt; Quigley sticks with VikesThe Carolina Panthers find themselves back in the thick of [more]

Hoops tip off, wrestling caps busy sports week

Hoops tip off, wrestling caps busy sports weekThe Grand Strand prep sports scene has a busy week [more]

CAC skirts snow, heats up Snowflake Invite podium

CAC skirts snow, heats up Snowflake Invite podiumThe Coastal Aquatic Club (CAC) dodged a snowy weekend in [more]

Riptides dash through the Blizzard Blitz competition

Riptides dash through the Blizzard Blitz competitionSeven Riptide swimmers traveled to Cary, NC, over weekend to [more]

North team extends streak of dominance over South

North team extends streak of dominance over SouthThe North squad extended its streak of dominance in the [more]

Myrtle Beach boys, girls blast past Carolina Forest

Myrtle Beach boys, girls blast past Carolina ForestThe Myrtle Beach High boys and girls basketball teams blew [more]

Gamecocks survive scare from Chants at the buzzer

Gamecocks survive scare from Chants at the buzzerFormer Gamecock-turned-Chanticleer Jaylen Shaw missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer at [more]

Steele makes major splash at Winter Junior Nationals

Steele makes major splash at Winter Junior NationalsCarolina Forest senior and Coastal Aquatic Club swimmer Taylor Steele [more]

Strand to host two-week holiday hoops-apalooza

Strand to host two-week holiday hoops-apaloozaChristmas Day is only eight days away, and you know [more]

Wrestling: WB takes Shark Duels; NMB wins Hampton

Wrestling: WB takes Shark Duels; NMB wins HamptonWest Brunswick, the lone North Carolina team in the tournament, [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2017 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach