Oct 7, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) fumbles the ball and it is recovered by Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) as outside linebacker James Anderson (50) and defensive tackle Dwan Edwards (92) help defend in the third quarter. The Seahawks defeated the Panthers 16-12 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE

Kuechly in the Middle

Once again Jon Beason missed a game due to injury. Because of his  absence Luke Kuechly was afforded the opportunity to start. If you watched the game then you saw the future leader and captain of our defense.Luke made a combined 11 tackles and an interception.

Kuechly was a tackling machine in college. He was the all time leading tackler for the Boston College Eagles with 532 career tackles. What’s so impressive is he accomplished the feat in 3 years. Truly a mind numbing total. The Panthers selected Kuechly with the 9th overall selection this year. I think many Panther fans were surprised by the pick. I was confident in the pick having seen him play several times versus various ACC opponents. I can see his development as he adjusts to the speed of the pro game.

Sunday Kuechly made a strong case for himself regarding the middle linebacker position. Luke is an instinctive player with an almost sixth sense for finding the ball. As evidenced by his high collegiate tackle totals, Kuechly is an excellent tackler. He was everywhere today making plays all over the field. The young rookie looked right at home in the middle of the Panthers defense.

Jon Beason coming off a torn Achilles tendon has been beset by injuries to knee and shoulder. Beason has 27 combined tackles on the season. He looked highly ineffective versus the NY Giants and has missed the last couple games due to injury. When healthy Beason is a Pro Bowl caliber player. The problem recently has been he is too hurt to play.The position belongs to Beason, but should injury continue to plague Jon, then Luke will take the position. Not because he is the back up but he earned it with his play.

Due to the limited success of the Panthers so far this season, the development of Kuechly will be one of the year’s highlights.  We are witnessing the emergence of the next great Panther linebacker, in the mold of Dan Morgan and Sam Mills. So folks, sit back and enjoy the show.

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