Carolina Panthers training camp: 3 big questions at linebacker

(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson /
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Tahir Whitehead, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) Tahir Whitehead /

Carolina Panthers Question No.1: Can Tahir Whitehead fill Luke Kuechly’s shoes?

Losing Luke Kuechly might have been in keeping with the Carolina Panthers’ desire to go younger this offseason. But the legendary linebacker’s decision to call it a day after eight unbelievable seasons of production was a hammer blow to the organization.

Kuechly is undeniable one of the Panthers’ greatest ever players. He was a cerebral assassin on the field. And led by example with incredible passion that will be immensely hard for anyone to replicate.

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This responsibility will fall on Tahir Whitehead’s shoulders in 2020. The free-agent signing from the Las Vegas Raiders has been a solid if not spectacular performer throughout his career. And he does have previous experience of working with head coach Matt Rhule during their time together in college at Temple.

Whitehead is a superb tackling presence at the second level. He has a strong football IQ that enables him to see plays develop quickly. And this should ensure the veteran is around the ball prominently next season.

One area of concern regarding his ability is in coverage. This has been a problem area for Whitehead for a considerable period. And only time will tell as to whether the Panthers can cope with this one-dimensional play from their starting linebacker.

There is every chance that Whitehead can become a tremendous asset for the Panthers in 2020. And if he meets or even exceeds expectations, then a longer-term commitment won’t be far behind.