Exploiting Luke Kuechly

November 17th, 2012

Joe’s not big on most postseason awards, but Joe knows Lavonte David has to be in contention for something as the tackling machine on the Bucs’ top-ranked run defense.

David is fifth in the NFL in tackles (81), pretty amazing for a rookie. But then it feels a little less special because rookie Luke Kuechly of Carolina is third in the league with 87 tackles. Kuechly was the can’t-miss 21-year-old middle linebacker in the NFL draft out of Boston College. He started the season as an outside linebacker but has gone wild since moving to the middle of the Panthers defense.

Speaking on 98.7 FM yesterday, Charlotte Observer Panthers beat writer Joe Person was gushing about Kuechly but said he does have a weakness.

“He’s averaging 15 tackles a game since taking over the middle for Jon Beason. He doesn’t miss tackles,” Person said.

Kuechly has proven “vulnerable to play-action,” Person said, and has yet to show the same prowess in coverage has he has in other phases of the game.

Joe found this to be an interesting nugget, and one that leads Joe to believe the Bucs will try to exploit Kuechly over the middle early and keep him playing a little less downhill.

Definitely something to watch for on Sunday.

15 Responses to “Exploiting Luke Kuechly”

  1. Charlie B Says:

    When we traded back in the draft this year, I was convinced it was for Kuechly. I was ready to buy a jersey I was so excited. That emotion flipped when we drafted Barron. A safety? Sure we needed one, but not as badly as LB.

    I’ll tell you what, though. David and the ability of Schiano to get Black playing at a reasonable level made me get over it quickly.

  2. Ian's Gay Lisp & Ron's Drinking Problem Says:

    I sorta wanted Luke in the draft. But now, I’ll take Lavonte David & Mark Barron all day long. And with Mason Foster stepping up, everything worked out. Several good OLB’s in this draft to complete the LB core. Adam Hayward gets a chance to prove himself as well.

    The RockStar is looking good in those skinny jeans too

  3. Kennedy Says:

    My feelings exactly Charlie.

    Kuechly’s also had the chance to play alongside Beason and learn from him. Not sure he would have had that edge here. I don’t know, it would have been something to both David AND Kuechly.

  4. Jdubb Says:

    Kuechly may have the advantage in total tackles but David has almost 20 more solo tackles (67 to 50) than Kuechly which is more telling in my mind. He makes more plays on his own.

  5. Rick Says:

    Aren’t the play action issues the same knock on David so far. They are both beasts in clear pass and run scenarios, but when that play action goes into effect, they both bite hard.

  6. Sneedy16 Says:


    I was thinking the same thing. He pads his stats by jumping in on gang tackles. Watch the Bucs game this Sunday you will see. He has the occasional solo tackle, but he jumps in on the tackle.

    I’ll admit though it would have been great to have him in the middle with Mason Foster on the Strong and David on the Weak. Given the way our division was going with the pass happy TE we needed a big safety that can cover them, so Barron was the way to go.

  7. BigMacAttack Says:

    No complaints with the draft here.

  8. SteveK Says:

    I’d take Baron, David, and Muscle Hamster over Claibourne or Keuchly any day.

    Another maneuver up and down the draft board, and landing three more “coveted” players and we are in business.

  9. lowlife Says:

    Both teams will have their way with play action with the way Foster and Barron bite.

  10. Deminion Says:

    Rather hve lavonte and mason anyday

  11. BucsOrDie!!! Says:

    Listen we lead the league in tackles for a loss and number 1 run defense so what more could Kuechley have done this year for us? Unless he has cover skills like Urlacher in his prime I say we made the right choice with Barron especially since a better MLB is coming out of college this year but I don’t see a real great safety in the first round this year.

  12. Jbrooks8604 Says:

    Kuechly solo tackles – 50
    David Solo tackles – 67

    Nuff said.

  13. Bucfever40 Says:

    Right on JBrooks, that says everything, not only that, what I didn’t like about Kuechely is he is a “drag down” tackler versus Lavonte being a “thumper” type tackler, you can see he (David) hits with authority, a down hill hitter, Kuechely is simply a Barrett Ruud clone, he’ll make a ton of tackles, but after being dragged for 5 to 8 yards down the field, David is exploding running backs behind the line of schrimage, eerily similar to #55 as a rookie, we thought then, wow this kid is going to be big….has that “it” factor, we clearly got the better LB by far. Imagine after next year’s draft, yea baby!!

  14. teacherman777 Says:

    I thought we were gonna be safe and Kuechly and I was shocked when we took Barron.

    But am Happy now! We got 2 great defensive pieces. One to replace John Lynch, and the other to replace our great hero Derrick Brooks.

    And Dougie??

    Rock Star? U rock!

    3 first round talents in 2012!

  15. PrometheanFR Says:

    David is a better LB than Kuechly? Good luck selling that one to the voters. Numbers don’t showcase everything (even though Kuechly is still leading all rookies in tackles and tackles for a loss). Luke has been an animal in coverage (although needs more development). He’s, at times, covered top-tier receivers and tight ends on par with Patrick Willis. At the end of the day, this is just fan talk. David isn’t on Luke’s level.

    By the by, the only reason why David has more solo tackles than Luke is because Davis is playing inspirational football. Anderson is also playing at a high level.