4 burning questions the Carolina Panthers must answer in 2020

Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers. (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images)
Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers. (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images) /
5 of 5
Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) Luke Kuechly /

Carolina Panthers Question No. 4: Who will lead the defense in Luke Kuechly’s absence?

There were plenty of outgoings on defense for the Carolina Panthers this spring. But the organization was dealt a significant blow when perennial All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly announced his shock retirement after a glittering eight seasons.

This was something that was undoubtedly done for the right reasons. But Kuechly’s decision was still met with dismay, to put it mildly. He was the heart and soul of the Panthers from the moment the player stepped onto the field. And someone of his quality is cannot ever really be replaced.

Kuechly’s production was matched by his supreme leadership on and off the field. So it will be up to members of the current roster to take the mantle going forward. Who does this remains to be seen, but one suspects that is going to take more than just one individual.

More from Cat Crave

Tahir Whitehead will play in Kuechly’s spot and has the capability of doing a nice job in the short-term. He is a tremendous tackling presence at the second level. But his coverage skills leave a lot to be desired on occasions.

In terms of leadership, there are a few candidates that can make a step up. The most notable would probably be Tre Boston on the backend at safety, And Shaq Thompson is another that will be expected to be more vocal during in-game situations.

The Panthers will also benefit from the return of defensive tackle Kawann Short on the defensive front. And if all three can lead from the front, it will provide the franchise with a solid spine that this young group can lean on in times of trouble.

In truth, the impact Kuechly made across the organization is unmeasurable. And it might take Carolina some time to get over.

Must Read. Carolina Panthers: 2009 NFL Draft do-over (6 Rounds). light