Panthers: 3 ways Shaq Thompson can become the defensive leader

(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson /
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Shaq Thompson, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson /

Carolina Panthers No. 1: Communication

One of the many things that made Luke Kuechly so great was his communication on the field. He was a cerebral player who seemed to know what was coming on almost every down. And this mantle will now need to fall on Shaq Thompson in 2020.

The Carolina Panthers did bring in Tahir Whitehead to fill in at inside linebacker. But if Thompson wants to fulfill his standing as a leader on defense. Then the way he guides this unit is going to be crucial to their overall fortunes.

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Thompson has already proven to be a vocal presence on the field. He plays the game with a desire and passion that few can match. And if he can figure out how to incorporate this with getting others around him in the right spot. It is going to do the Panthers’ chances a significant amount of good.

There is no doubt that Thompson will have learned a tremendous amount from playing alongside Kuechly. This is something he can put to good use in Carolina’s first year without their former Boston College standout. And the figure will still be around to lend advice if needed after taking up the position of pro scout after he was officially placed on the reserve/retired list.

Young players who are finding their feet in the NFL will need someone like Thompson pointing them in the right direction. Tre Boston is going to take care of the secondary. So this should allow the fifth-year pro to focus his immediate attention on a front seven with enormous potential.