|Panthers explore possibility of moving Beason to weakside linebacker|
|Written by Steve Reed|
|Thursday, 10 June 2010 12:41|
CHARLOTTE – With Thomas Davis gone for the vast majority, if not all, of the 2010 regular season the Carolina Panthers are giving Jon Beason a look at weakside linebacker.|
Beason ran with the starters in Davis’ old spot on Wednesday, while Dan Connor filled in at middle linebacker. James Anderson continued to run with the starters on the strong side.
“That’s how we’re looking at it,” Beason said. “We have three practices left and I’m getting some reps at the Will (weakside linebacker) position because we have the opportunity right now. You really just want to determine the best three guys right now. The only way to do that is to move guys around and see what that equation is.”
Although Beason said he doesn’t view the move as permanent yet, he knows it is an option.
Beason has gone to the Pro Bowl the past two seasons playing in the middle. However, he worked at weakside linebacker for three seasons at the University of Miami and it’s the position he was drafted to play here back when the Panthers still had Dan Morgan in the middle.
“I don’t think it will be hard transition,” Beason said if the move becomes a necessity. “It might be easier than the Mike (middle linebacker) because it’s something I’ve done… My number one goal is to win. If that’s something the coaches want me to do then I will do it to the best of my ability.”
Panthers coach John Fox said he’s not settled on how best to adjust to Davis’ long-term absence.
“There are a lot of options,” Fox said. “At this point, I’m not going to get into all of what they are. It’s similar to what we went through and adjustments we had to make a year ago. That’s part of this game.”
However, Fox said he “feels good” about the guys the Panthers have.
Along with Beason, the Panthers could also use Jamar Williams or rookie Eric Norwood there, or wind up moving Anderson back to over to the weak side.
“First of all, with a guy like Thomas, my heart goes out to him,” Fox said. “Just going through that, personally, is hard. So I’m disappointed for him. I’m not sure you replace a guy quite of his abilities. We had some guys step in last year and do a good job.”
Right now the biggest thing is getting the best three linebackers on the field, and that likely means some combination of Beason, Anderson, Connor and Williams.
“It’s a new unit but we have guys with experience,” Beason said. “The thing you’re looking for now is chemistry. I can tell you what Thomas is thinking and Na’il Diggs is thinking without even talking to them. So that is one thing we’re going to miss but we’re going to develop that.”
Beason also said with Davis out he’ll have to take on a bigger leadership role.
“I think you have to be more vocal,” Beason said. “Last year you make the call and you didn’t have to do the checks. Guys would check themselves. Now you may be saying anything just to see if you’re on the same page and see what (the other linebackers) are thinking.”
Beason said he has complete confidence that Connor will do well at middle linebacker if he moves outside.
“It was always a chance with Thomas going down, even last year, that Dan could come in and play the Mike,” Beason said. “That’s a tribute to him. He’s a solid football player with great technique. That’s the way we’re working right now, but that’s because he can do it. I look forward to him making plays.”
However, Beason admitted it’s tough as a whole to replace Davis, who is faster and more athletic than most of the defensive backs on the current roster.
He called Davis “the best in the NFL” at his position.
For Beason, it’s hard to believe Davis is out yet again.
“Never, I would have bet a million bucks it wasn’t the ACL,” said Beason, who was back-peddling with Davis during individual drills when Davis went down Tuesday. “I thought it was scar tissue and having the surgery I know you can go through it… It’s just crazy.
“You pray for the guy. It's hard when you turn to look for him and he’s not there or you go to ask him a question and he’s not there. It’s weird. After conditioning drills we would always walk in (to the stadium) together. Now I’m just here by myself. It’s unfortunate.”