Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is the kind of impact player that NFL teams envision when they select a player in the top ten of the NFL Draft. Selected ninth overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, he was named Defensive Rookie of the Year that season and NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013.
What can he do for an encore in year three? Kuechly’s eyes are set on the Super Bowl. Kuechly’s old-school physical style and “Smelf-confidence” lends itself perfectly to a partnership with old-school icon Old Spice.
Talk about the partnership with Old Spice.
“I partnered up with them to talk about the hair product that came out earlier this year. There’s shampoos, conditioners, different gels. The biggest thing behind them is the simplicity to use the product. You can use it real quick and don’t have to take a whole lot of time. We use it quite a bit in the locker room. I passed it out to some of the linebackers and everybody is loving it right now.”
At every level you’ve played, you’ve been a tackling machine. How do you account for this? What do you do differently?
“I’ve always had a great group of guys around me. At Boston College, Bill McGovern (former DC) did a great job and he is the reason why I developed in college. And when I got to Carolina, I had some older guys around like Jon Beason [and] Thomas Davis that taught me a lot, and I learned what it takes to be successful. So I owe a lot to those guys for the success I’m having today.”
What makes the Panthers defense so physical? Every defense in the league tries to be what you guys are. What’s the secret?
“I think it’s a mindest. To play physical and establish the line of scrimmage and make physical tackles and force turnovers. We’ve had a couple meetings in OTA’s this year and that has been the message; to be a physical team, to push guys back and make plays… Our coaches preach being one of 11 for the defense. Do your job, take care of your responsibility on each play and try not to do too much. If each guy does his job and does it correctly, that’s 11 guys doing the same thing and that puts you in a position to win games.”