Last year, the Carolina Panthers boasted the offensive rookie of the year in quarterback Cam Newton. It’s early, but this year they may repeat with a rookie of the year in linebacker Luke Kuechly. In under a quarter of play, Kuechly finished with four tackles and a forced fumble, and was making plays all over the field.
Like I said, it’s still really early, but it was quite an opener for the former Boston College star. Kuechly’s performance came in a losing effort, but it’s clear that the Panthers are going to find a way, some way to get him on the field at all times.
On the other sideline, one thing we said we’d be looking for tonight was to see how the Texans’ young pass rushers fared, and they did not disappoint. Houston had seven sacks to finish the game, and first round pick Whitney Mercilus made an impact with three tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a tackle for loss to round out his night. Not a bad opener for the rookie.
Brooks Reed, who will be essentially replacing the no. 2 pass rusher role left by Connor Barwin who is taking over for Mario Williams had a sack on Cam Newton where he came into the backfield pretty much untouched. Another player I like, former undrafted linebacker Bryan Braman also had a sack for the Texans. This is a good looking young group of pass rushers.