Is Luke Kuechly a Better Option at MLB Than Jon Beason, and More NFC South News

Knox Bardeen@knoxbardeenNFC South Lead WriterOctober 10, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 07:  Luke Kuechly #59 of the Carolina Panthers forces Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks out-of-bounds during play at Bank of America Stadium on October 7, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Ever since the Carolina Panthers drafted linebacker Luke Kuechly in the first round on the 2012 NFL draft, the team has been wondering whether to play him or veteran Jon Beason at middle linebacker.

Beason's been plagued by injuries this year, but he has only missed one game. Kuechly stepped in last week to the tune of 11 tackles (the team numbers are a bit higher at 16 because teams keep their own tackling stats) and an interception at the middle linebacker position.

During the bye week, the coaching staff will "kick around" this question, according to the Charlotte Observer.

But which player should stay in the middle, and which should play on the weakside?

According to Pro Football Focus (paywall), Beason has been involved in 27 tackles this season and has played 255 snaps at middle linebacker. Kuechly was involved in 15 tackles in only 61 snaps in the middle. Kuechly looks like the more efficient tackler.

Beason's also missed four tackles this season; Kuechly didn't when playing in the middle (he did miss two tackles earlier in the year at weakside linebacker).

Ron Rivera, along with general manager Marty Hurney, linebackers coach Warren Belin and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, will try and wade through this decision prior to Carolina's Week 7 game against Dallas.


Atlanta Falcons

Linebacker Stephen Nicholas had trouble pushing off his ankle in Week 5's game in Washington, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He'll be closely monitored by the training staff this week.

The Falcons have shown that they can win both on the road and at home, regardless of how close the game is. []


Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton rolled out on 4th-and-goal from the Seattle 1-yard line on Sunday in part because center Ryan Kalil was injured and outweighed in the middle of the line, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Head coach Ron Rivera thinks Cam Newton might be trying to do too much by going deep more often than he should, instead of hitting underneath targets. [Charlotte Observer]


New Orleans Saints

The Times-Picayune had a little fun with numbers Tuesday. The Saints offense is ranked fifth in the NFL, its defense last. That's a huge disparity. 

The Times-Picayune looks back at Sunday's Week 5 win over San Diego and picks apart the play-by-play.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cornerback Anthony Gaitor was placed on injured reserve/designated for return on Tuesday Linebacker Jacob Cutrera was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. [Pewter Report]

LeGarrette Blount is performing better in practice, according to the Tampa Bay Times. But will that equate to more carries on Sunday?