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Kuechly: Eagles Backs Are A Challenge


On Sunday night, the Eagles' offense will face one of its biggest challenges of the season, as the Carolina Panthers boast one of the best defensive units in the NFL. The Panthers rank inside the top 10 in yards per game (338.0), points per game (18.8) and interceptions (8). Carolina is led by the man in the middle, linebacker Luke Kuechly, a two-time first-team All-Pro selection out of Boston College.

During his conference call with the Philadelphia media this week, Kuechly explained why the Panthers' defense is clicking so well at this point in the season.

"I think our biggest thing is that we have to communicate well and play fundamentally sound," Kuechly said. "I think those are two things that we always talk about. With the fundamentals, it's tackling and getting off blocks well and running to the football, and then communication allows you to make sure everyone's on the same page."

The Panthers' defense has managed to stay on that same page despite the fact that Kuechly has played just two games this season. A concussion suffered in the season opener against Jacksonville had the young linebacker out of the lineup for three games, but he made his return in last week's win over Seattle.

"It was exciting," Kuechly said. "I love playing football, and it was tough sitting out there and watching and not being able to play. I was looking forward to that week for a while and it was fun. I got to be out there with the guys and run around, and once you're back out there it just kind of comes back to what you remember. It's like riding a bike. You never forget how to do it. You just get out there and get in the flow of thing and it all kind of comes back."

Looking ahead to Sunday night's game, Kuechly and the Panthers are expecting a heavy dose of running from the Eagles early on. According to Kuechly, the improvements by the Eagles in the run game have been the biggest reason for the team's two-game win streak.

"I think they got in a groove and DeMarco (Murray) looked great," Kuechly said. "You guys also have (Darren) Sproles in there, who I've played against a few times, and then Ryan Mathews, so I think each guy has a little bit of a different style of running, and I think that's something that's a challenge. You can get used to one guy and then they put somebody else in and you really have to take into account who's in the game. … Everybody runs a little different and you have to understand that or else he's going to run by you, he's going to run through you or he's going to run around you.

"What's better about them right now is that they're able to run the ball, and when you run the ball, the passing game opens up."

Click play on the video player above or click here for the full conference call. 

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