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Breaking Down Panthers LB Situation

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One of the big question marks is who is gonna start and where. Looking purely at ability / strategic standpoint who is really the best suited to play the MLB, WLB, SLB.

First thing we need to do is fully understand the roles and differences between the 3 LB positions.

Middle Linebacker

The middle linebacker (MLB), sometimes called "Mike," is often referred to as the "quarterback of the defense". Often it is the middle linebacker who receives the defensive play calls from the sideline and relays that play to the rest of the team–and in the NFL he is usually the defensive player with the electronic sideline communicator. A jack-of-all-trades, the middle linebacker can be asked to blitz (though they often blitz less than the outside linebacker), cover, spy the quarterback, or even have a deep middle-of-the-field responsibility in the Tampa 2 defense. In standard defenses, middle linebackers commonly lead the team in tackles. The middle linebacker covers the "curl to flat"

Strongside Linebacker

The strongside linebacker (SLB) is often nicknamed "Sam" for purposes of calling a blitz. Since the strong side of the offensive team is the side on which the tight end lines up, or whichever side contains the most personnel, the strongside linebacker usually lines up across from the tight end. Often the strongside linebacker will be called upon to tackle the running back on a play, because the back will be following the tight end's block. He is most often the strongest linebacker; at the least he possesses the ability to withstand, shed, and fight off blocks from a tight end or fullback blocking the backside of a pass play. The linebacker should also have strong safety abilities in pass situation to cover the tight end in man on man situations. He should also have considerable quickness to read and get into coverage in zone situations.

Weakside Linebacker

The weakside linebacker, or the "Will", must be the fastest of the three, because he is often the one called into pass coverage. He is also usually chasing the play from the backside, so the ability to maneuver through traffic is a necessity for the Will. The Will usually aligns off the line of scrimmage at the same depth as Mike. Because of his position on the weakside, the Will does not often have to face large interior linemen one on one unless one is pulling. In coverage, the Will often covers the back that attacks his side of the field first in man coverage, while covering the weak flat or hook/curl areas in zone coverage. In a 3-4 defense the "Will" Linebacker plays on the "weakside" of the two middle Linebacker positions and a 4th Linebacker comes in to play the weakside. Known as a "Rush", "Rover", "Jack" and/or "Buck" Linebacker, their responsibility is more pass rush based but often is called into run stop (gap control) and pass coverage.

Now we need to examine our options.

Jon Beason 6ft 237lbs

40 yrd dash: 4.72

20 yrd dash: 2.72

10 yrd dash: 1.60

Bench: 19 reps

Broad Jump: 111 inches

Thomas Davis 6'1ft 230lbs

40 yrd dash: 4.60

20 yrd dash: 2.71

10 yrd dash: 1.64

Vertical: 36.5

Broad Jump: 115 inches

Shuttle: 4.01

3 Cone: 7.10

James Anderson 6'2ft 229lbs

40 yrd dash: 4.59

20 yrd dash: 2.68

10 yrd dash: 1.57

Vertical: 41.

Broad Jump: 121 inches

Shuttle: 4.08

3 Cone: 6.68

Luke Kuechly 6'3ft 242lbs

40 yrd dash: 4.58

Bench: 27 reps

Vertical: 38

Broad Jump: 74 inches

Shuttle: 4.12

3 Cone: 6.92

With the players we have I feel we are best served with Kuechly playing the WIL. He is pretty fast and has pretty good coverage abilities not to mention great pursuit. Keep Beason on in the middle. Have Anderson and Davis play the SAM.

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