Carolina Panthers have greatness in Kuechly


A preseason, or regular season game has yet to be played and Charles Tillman seems to be the player for the Carolina Panthers who has had the most impact, both on and off the field.  Tillman, who was signed in the offseason to bring strength to the secondary is an NFL veteran, coming from the Chicago Bears, who when he talks and acts, those around him listen.

Jan 31, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Chicago Bears former linebacker Brian Urlacher on the red carpet prior to the NFL Honors award ceremony at Symphony Hall. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We let you know how on the field, Tillman has given instructions to those in the secondary on tips of how to cause fumbles as he shared the “Peanut Punch”.  Has it helped the Panthers?  Since actually games have yet to be played, it is hard to say, but through the first week of training camp, players have implemented the act causing fumbles during drills.

Tillman being able to share the “Peanut Punch” at one point seemed as if it might not happen, as his trip getting to training camp was an adventure as the plane he was on from Chicago, had to make an emergency landing.  However, Tillman shared the experience via social media so everyone knew he was fine and not to worry.

Now that he has made it to training camp, he has made one of the biggest comments so far to come out of camp.  Tillman was asked to compare Luke Kuechly and Brian Urlacher.  Why was he asked this?  Well, Tillman played with Urlacher in Chicago for 10 seasons, including when Urlacher was in his prime, and saw day in and day out the greatness Urlacher possessed that made him a future Hall of Famer.  So to say Tillman can detect talent when he sees it, might be an understatement.

Dec 28, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) prepares for a game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

How did Tillman answer when asked on the comparison?  With very strong words in the

“Same if not better.”

To me, that seems like enough to tab Kuechly as one of the all-time great players.  Both Urlacher and Kuechly are similar in each of their hard nosed, ball hawking, wanting to make every play possible when on the field and their statistics back their play.

Over a 13 year career, Urlacher, who stood 6’4″ and 258 lbs., had 1,229 total tackles, an average of about 95 total tackles per season, with 41.5 sacks, an average of about 3 per season.  Urlacher also had 22 interceptions and scored 2 defensive touchdowns.

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Through three seasons, Kuechly, standing 6’3″ and 238 lbs., has 473 total tackles, an average of about 158 total tackles per season, with 6 sacks, an average of about 2 per season.  Kuechly has had 7 interceptions, but has not scored a defensive touchdown.

To top it off, both have won the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year Award.  Urlacher in 2005 and Kuechly in 2013.

But Tillman played with Urlacher at his best in 2005, when Urlacher was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.  If Tillman’s first phrase was not enough to convince you of Kuechly’s greatness and the stats were not either, Tillman had more powerful words, that are sure to convince you.

“Brian was really great in his prime.  “Father Time catches up to us all.  Right now Luke is very young, very active and very explosive.  He has a lot of power and speed and reminds me a lot of Brian back in the ’03, ’04, ’05 and ’06 era.”

So everyone listen to Tillman when he talks because so far, he has been doing all of the right things for the Carolina Panthers.