Bucs Concerned With Panthers LinebackersSeptember 5th, 2012
It’s bad enough the Bucs defense must deal with all-world quarterback Cam Newton and a couple of bruising running backs in Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, but the Bucs also will face arguably one of the top linebacker units in football.
Last year stud linebacker Jon Beason missed most of the season with an injured left Achilles. He’s returning alongside a potential defensive rookie of the year in Luke Kuechly.
It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that the Panthers linebackers have the full attention of the Bucs offensive line.
“Beason hasn’t played all preseason so I just have to go off of what I have seen in the past,” Bucs left tackle Donald Penn said. “He’s one of the best linebackers. Don’t have too much film on Beason as to how he is coming back from his injury and how well he is moving but we will find out on Sunday.”
Bucs right tackle Jeremy Trueblood is expecting the Beason the NFL is used to.
“Beason is one of the fastest in the NFL,” Trueblood said.
But it isn’t just Beason. The entire unit is strong, Penn said.
“The linebackers that filled in [for Beason] were real good,” Penn said. “They are smart. They are real active and they make sure they are in the right position. I think with Beason coming back in there, it will just be another plus” for Carolina.
“It’s not going to be easy,” Penn added. “We know that it’s going to be a dogfight.”
As impressed as the Bucs are with Beason, so too are they with Kuechly, despite his small sample of preseason game tape.
“He is moving around a lot,” Penn said. “He’s still learning, you can tell he is still learning. They say if you mess up, mess up by going a thousand miles an hour and with him, he is going a thousand miles an hour.
“That is a good thing though. We will have to find some ways to slow him down. He is playing well. But really, we have to take care of us. If we take care of us, we will be fine.”
Trueblood concurs, “If we just do our job, everything else will take care of itself.”