Last week Carolina LB Luke Kuechly made his 13th interception since he entered the league in 2012. No other NFL linebacker has more interceptions over that time. The linebacker tied for second in that category over the last five season is his teammate, Thomas Davis. Couple that production with Panthers S Kurt Coleman, who since 2013 leads all safeties with 14 INTs and you see the risk passing over the middle poses for opposing QBs.
So how do you balance being aggressive in the passing game against the Panthers while also mitigating the risk?
“They’re a tough group to prepare for because they’re so athletic,” said McDermott. “Luke is so aware of things, and they do a great job of communicating on their end as well. You just have to be aware of where he is, and they do a great job of taking the ball away on defense. That was a big part of their formula last week, and I’m sure one of their big goals this week against us will be to take the ball away. We have to be very aware of that and do our part in terms of respecting the football. They thrive off of taking the ball away and setting their offense up with short fields.”
The hook zones in particular are where Kuechly and Davis make most of their interceptions. Both of them can drop effectively into coverage and break on the ball.
“All those guys on that defense can run,” said Tyrod Taylor. “Of course, Luke Kuechly, he’s probably the best linebacker in the league, very smart, instinctive guy. Just going to have to go out there and play sound football. Our first challenge on the road against a very good defense, and we’re going to have to execute every play and continue to keep focus throughout the whole game.”
Tags: Luke Kuechly, Sean McDermott, Tyrod Taylor
Posted in Inside the Bills