If you have been playing close attention you have probably noticed Carolina Panthers rookie linebacker Jeremy Cash looks a bit different, and more importantly, is playing a bit different as well.
Cash, one of the NFL’s most sought after undrafted free agents, came into Panthers rookie camp looking more like a safety instead of the linebacker position the Carolina Panthers had assigned him. “I came in at 205” Cash told me after the Tennessee Titans preseason game. “I am about 221 right now.”
For those of you that are mathematically challenged, that is 16 pounds of muscle Cash has put on in only a couple of months. Even for a pro athlete, that is nothing to sneeze at. Cash is looking much less like a safety and more like someone who should be wearing number 57.
It isn’t Cash’s size that has caught the attention of Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, as much as his nose for the football. “Jeremy Cash is really starting to come into his own” Rivera said recently. “He is one of those guys that seems to be around the ball. Very active around the football, and that is what we are looking for.”
Ron Rivera wasn’t kidding. Cash made his presence felt in the second half of the Tennessee Titans game when he accrued 5 solo tackles.
5 tackles in a single half? Those are NFL linebacker numbers. Clearly, Cash is getting the hang of this.
Jeremy Cash’s path to the Carolina Panthers roster is not an easy one, but it does exist. While linebacker Ben Jacobs is injured, Cash needs to show that he can fill in on special teams with just as much play making ability but also show that he has more upside as a linebacker. One player’s injury is another player’s opportunity. It isn’t exactly fair, but it is a reality in the NFL.
By the way, Cash was indeed making special teams plays on Saturday against the Titans.
This is not to say that Cash is dwelling on the roster implications of his play. That is the job of fans and media types. Jeremy Cash has a different frame of mind.
“I’m not out there thinking, I am just out there making plays.” Jeremy Cash told me. “I’ve got great guys around me, just helping me and encouraging me. Telling me, whatever you do, just go out there and hit somebody.”
Be sure to check out more Photos and Observations from “Along the Sidelines” of the Carolina Panthers – Tennessee Titans game.