Dec 22, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) runs the ball as he is defended by Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) during the second half of the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Kuechly should be DPOY


Dec 22, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) reacts in the fourth quarter. The Panthers defeated the Saint 17-13 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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  • FBfanZ

    Exactly why should he be DPOY? Yes he had one good game but…

    Third in the league in tackles, 11 behind the leader. Both guys ahead of him are also LBs.
    Tenth in the league in solo tackles.
    Two other LBs have more INTs and three other have as many.
    20th in the league in sacks among LBs.
    ZERO forced fumbles, ZERO fumble recoveries and ZERO TDs.

    Robert Quinn of St Louis should be DPOY. Leads the league in sacks, leads the league in tackles for loss, tied for lead in forced fumbles, tied for 4th in fumble recoveries, one for a TD, 2nd in QB hits. Look at EPA (positive expected points added) and EPA/G Quinn is first in both categories for a DE, Keuchly on the other hand is 26th among LBs in EPA and 35th in EPA/G among LBs.

    Kuechly isn’t even the best LB in the league much less DPOY.

    • Josh Adler

      FBfanz you make a lot of great points about the statistics but Kuechly’s game goes beyond the numbers. Teams game plan and account for him on every play and he still is producing at a pro bowl level. You simply have to watch his tape to see why he deserves the honor. When he is not getting the tackle he is in the area or he is lining up the defense and calling audibles to put other guys in position to make a play. I am a big Robert Quinn fan being that I go to UNC so I have followed him since his college days, but his game is on par for what a good DE should be. He also had the benefit of playing a much softer schedule than the panthers (aside from divisonal games of course). Kuechly dominates a game the way no one has this season. He’s a big reason the Panthers give up the least points per game in the NFL. Your input is much appreciated. Lets keep the debate going

    • Josh Adler

      Also Quinn had the tendency to disappear in a lot of games. Kuechly stayed consistent in every single game.

  • Philip Muleski

    Are you smoking crack have you seen his numbers you must be a St. Louis Rams fan you guys are having a bad year first The Panthers hurt your quarterback plus you guys suck all around no one wants to see the St. Louis rams play football they rather go to a Cardinals game

    • FBfanZ

      Yes I have seen his numbers but am willing to listen to your spin. Please tell me which of the stats I quoted for Keuchly or Quinn is inaccurate? You see, I understand the concept of intelligent discourse, you should try it sometime.

  • muku

    Robert Quin, Lavonte David, NaVarro Bowmen, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas…All the players i would consider before even looking at Kuechly.

    • FBfanZ

      Good list muku, all worthy of consideration. Sherman & Thomas will suffer because they play for the same team. I might add Dansby to the short list as well. That said I still think the nod goes to Quinn though.

  • Beer O’Clock

    Since we’re on the subject of the Rams vs. the Panthers, an article about how the Rams feel about Kuechly:

    A glance at the stat sheet suggests Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly had the worst game of his 22-game NFL career Sunday against St. Louis.

    Last year’s tackles leader and the reigning defensive rookie of the year, Kuechly had three tackles, zero sacks and one pass defensed.

    Of course, the game was more than numbers. And Monday, defensive coordinator Sean McDermott praised his middle linebacker’s play, saying the Rams’ offensewas so occupied with not getting beaten by Kuechly that it opened opportunities for other players.

    Early in the game, linebackers coach Al Holcomb noticed the St. Louis offensive linemen were getting to the second level of the defense quicker than what the defensive coaching staff had seen on tape.

    “It’s like if we’re on a tandem or combo block,” McDermott said Monday, “and one of us has to get to the second level to block a guy, they’re going fast right now as opposed to waiting, and then trying to make a one-on-one block at the first level. And that’s where we were winning” Sunday.

    Six Panthers had more tackles than Kuechly during Sunday’s 30-15 win, including six by defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and four from defensive end Greg Hardy. The extra attention the Rams paid to Kuechly – McDermott said it was the most attention he has seen Kuechly get during his pro career – freed other players to make plays.

    Read more here:


    As Charlie Brown once said: “Tell your statistics to shut up”.

    Quinn, Thomas, David and Kuechly all deserve it. Last week, I would have given the DPOY award to Thomas. But, in the biggest game of the Panthers’ year, Kuechly has a game of ages. That, my friend, goes beyond your statistics. We’ll see what Quinn and Thomas do this week in their big game this Sunday.

    Quinn and David are having phenomenal years on defenses that are slightly above average. Thomas and Keuchly are dominant leaders on defenses that dominate games and because of their defense’s domination, have double-digit wins and will be in the playoffs.

    If any of the above four win, I’d feel like it was justly awarded.

    • FBfanZ

      First thank you for an intelligent response. I certainly agree that there is more to a season than just stats. I like your list and would likely add Dansby and Sherman as candidates.

      I get the point that the attention paid to Kuechly kept down his stats. That said, Quinn has been double teamed or more since the first half of game one and still putting up great numbers. Look at the Saints game a few weeks ago. First he is hit by the TE, then double teamed by the LG & LT and pushed to the ground. So three guys take a shot at him. The results of the play, he sacks Brees in what was timed in under 3 seconds. The Saints benched their LT during that game and he is not the first Quinn sent to the showers.

      No argument that the Panthers D is great but I don’t buy the argument that an individual award candidate should be penalized or rewarded based on the strength of the team. That’s why it’s not a team award.

  • Cyteria Knight

    I appreciate your ability to look at the intangibles and not just the stats that are officially counted. Luke’s game is awesome because his play makes it possible for his team to win, as evidenced by the Panthers success this season. I believe that he has the unique ability to actually affect the outcome of a game whether he actually gets a sack or a turnover. He is the consummate ‘team player’