Gerald McCoyCarolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, the defensive tackle hearkened back to his meat-eating days.

With 17 tackles in Week 2, the 28-year-old Kuechly surpassed Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher for the most tackles by an player through his first eight seasons. He needs eight tackles on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars to reach 1,000 career tackles.

The Panthers made it a priority to improve defensive speed and moved to a 3-4 base to get more pressure on quarterbacks. Kuechly has been the one constant.

His 23 stops — tackles resulting a successful play for the defense — are tied for second among linebackers and only one off the league lead held by Jordan Hicks.


Kuechly is a perfectionist. He spends as much or more time studying film than most coaches.

Tre Boston cited as an example a play during the NFC Championship Game following the 2015 season.

Kuechly’s career has been threatened by concussions. He has spent three stints in the concussion protocol, the first one in 2015 after a violent collision at Jacksonville.

Panthers outside linebacker Shaq Thompson, whose star has risen since Davis departed, also is in on the competition. As it stands, Kuechly has 44 tackles, Thompson 40 and Davis 38, all among the top 10 in the league.


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