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Panthers not yet ready to make LB shift

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Dan Parr
Associate editor

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Posted May 18, 2012 @ 10:40 a.m. ET
By Dan Parr

If the Panthers decide to play rookie Luke Kuechly at middle linebacker and move Jon Beason to the weak side before the season, the call probably will not be made before training camp gets started. The initial plan is for Kuechly to play on the weak side, but head coach Ron Rivera has left the door open at least a crack to switching up the alignment as he looks for the best way to get his best players on the field.

Kuechly took snaps on the weak side and in the middle at the Panthers’ rookie minicamp last week, but Beason, who is coming off a torn Achilles that ended his 2011 season after only one game, wants to stay in the middle and Rivera is respectful of his wishes.

Beason, a three-time Pro Bowler, has played mostly in the middle during his four full NFL seasons, but he also has started on the weak side. Kuechly, the ninth overall pick in this year’s draft, has not played on the weak side since his freshman year at Boston College.

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