Greg Olsen Compares Panthers Rookie Luke Kuechly to Brian Urlacher
August 27, 2012 – 6:30 am by Brad Gagnon
The Carolina Panthers tripled their win total last season, which has many believing that the young Panthers can take another big step forward and become contenders in Cam Newton’s second year. The team might be green, but helping their cause is that they have a pair of experienced pass catchers in Steve Smith and Greg Olsen.
Greg Olsen joined Marc James on WFNZ in Charlotte to discuss his role in the offense with Jeremy Shockey gone, Steve Smith’s foot injury and the impact he expects rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly to make.
On being the primary tight end on his own this year with Jeremy Shockey gone:
“Yeah. That’s what my role was a couple years back when I was in Chicago before I came here. I played every snap and was asked to do a lot of different things. Our offense is a little different than some of the other guys around the league are in. We’re gonna run the ball a lot more; more gonna ask the tight ends to do a lot of pass protection and blitz stuff. … But at the same point, hopefully the ball is thrown to the tight end group … that’s something that I look forward to and something that I anticipate.”
On Steve Smith’s foot injury:
“I think it’s erring on the side of caution. I think he’s fine, he’s in good spirits. It’s nothing that’s alarming or anything. We know what he can do. I think this will be a good opportunity for some of those some of those other receivers to go out there and … get a lot of good quality work in. We’ve seen Smitty do it for a long time so I think this will actually be a good thing for the rest to go out and get these good reps and get him ready for the start of the season.”
On rookie Luke Kuechly in comparison to great linebackers he’s played with, such as Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Jon Beason and Thomas Davis:
“I think he can be as good as any of those guys. Obviously he’s got a lot of work to do to be in the category of the players you just named, and I’d be hard-pressed to say after one training camp that he’s gonna be Brian Urlacher or Jon Beason. Obviously as a rookie he’s got things to learn, as we all still do. But saying that, I think from a mental and a physical aspect, the combination that he has — the instincts, nose for the ball, knowing the defense, the savviness in pass coverage — mixed with the physical attributes — he’s big, he’s fast, he’s athletic — there’s not a lot of guys out there that have combination of both. And I think that’s where the Urlacher comparisons come. He’s kind of cut from that same cloth. Big, tall, rangy athletic guy. Great instincts. Can find the ball but can bring other impact plays to the game. He’s not just gonna tackle guys, he’s gonna get interceptions, fumble recoveries, sacks. Those kind of guys are impact players more than just making tackles. I think he can be pretty special.”
Listen to Greg Olsen on WFNZ here
Tags: Carolina Panthers, Greg Olsen, Luke Kuechly, NFC South, NFL, Steve Smith