Luke Kuechly has all but wrapped up the defensive player of the year award following his game for the ages last Sunday. Luke was credited with 24 tackles (26 tackles according to his coaches) and also nabbed an interception. 24 tackles ties an NFL single game record since they started keeping that statistic in 1994. Kuechly has earned praise all season from football experts and is considered one of the best, if not the best middle linebackers in the game. If you ask defensive coordinator Sean McDermott he’ll tell you Kuechly is the best defender in the NFL period. Kuechly is the leader of the NFL’s number one scoring defense. He is able to diagnose plays before they even happen, allowing him to have a quick first step and be on the ball carrier in an instant. Drew Brees threw screens to his running backs several times on Sunday and Luke was there to make the tackle almost every time behind the line of scrimmage. If the screen did go positive, it was only for a a yard or two.
Kuechly now has 310 total tackles in less than 2 seasons of playing time (164 his rookie year and 146 this season). He has improved on his pass coverage skills, albeit they still need a little work. Since Kuechly’s arrival, the Panthers have had a top 10 defensive unit and this year they have transformed into a Super Bowl caliber defense. What makes Kuechly special though, is his will to win, to put in the extra work on and off the practice field to ensure he is ready to play each and every Sunday. He is humble, never taking credit for his success. Instead, he credits his teammates for eating up blocks and freeing him up to make plays. Calm and collected off the field, Kuechly evolves into a monster on the field. He pops offensive players with so much speed and force, I don’t know why anyone would want to matchup against this man.
There have been great defensive performances this year, but no one has been as dominantly consistent week in and week out as Luke Kuechly. He has 146 tackles, 2 sacks, and 4 interceptions on the year. He’ll more than likely have another double digit tackle performance in Atlanta this Sunday and should solidify his place as the defensive player of the year. A pretty impressive feat for a 22 year old, second-year player. The sky is the limit for this kid and we are just beginning to witness the greatness that is Luke Kuechly.