Luke Kuechly doesn’t have any experience with it but the Carolina Panthers are going to begin working him at strong-side linebacker.
That is the plan with veteran Jon Beason expected to return from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in the season opener last year. Kuechly lined up at middle linebacker during rookie minicamp on Friday, according to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, but the idea is to have him work at weak side. The hope is Thomas Davis can return from his latest ACL injury to play on the strong side.
“We’ll start him on the outside, and then we’ll rotate him into the inside. Jon will be on the inside,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “I’ve talked with Jon about him playing inside and outside, as well. It’s going to be an interesting experiment as we go through this because quite frankly we want to make sure we put the best unit on the football field and the best combination of players.”
When the Panthers drafted Kuechly, they said he could play all three positions in their scheme. It wouldn’t be surprising if he one day lands in the middle. For now, he’ll try the weak side where his speed and ability to track down ball carriers should be a real asset.
Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs
Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune