Carolina Panthers

Three questions with ... Panthers LB Shaq Thompson

Carolina Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson laughs at teammate Luke Kuechly during Wednesday’s practice in Spartanburg.
Carolina Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson laughs at teammate Luke Kuechly during Wednesday’s practice in Spartanburg. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Three questions with Carolina Panthers LB Shaq Thompson:

Q. Have you stepped up your pass coverage from your rookie year?

A. I feel way more comfortable in the last year. I know my assignment. I know what leverage to take, depending on what defense we’re in. I know where my help is. And just the whole technique-wise that I’ve been working on with coach (Steve) Wilks and coach Curt (Fuller). So just taking what they’re giving me and trying to apply it on the field.

Q. Ron Rivera’s talked about using you creatively and in different spots. Is that the role you envisioned coming out of college?

A. I was kind of blind. I didn’t know what my role (would be). My biggest thing was just learn the defense, earn that trust and just make my way on the field. I think I did it a little bit last year, earn some trust. So my biggest thing is go out there and play, and just continue to learn.

Q. Do you like the challenge of going out in the slot and being in space against some pretty talented receivers?

A. Yeah, you’ve always got to go out there and have confidence. If you know a guy is legit good, you’ve still got to have that mindset of ‘He’s not going to beat me.’ You’ve got to have the mindset that I’m the best on the field, regardless of who you’re going against or who you’re playing against. You’ve got to have that confidence level that you’re going to win that play.

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