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Anderson "a steady force"

Posted Aug 20, 2012

CHARLOTTE – The linebacker position is currently in a state of flux for the Carolina Panthers.

Jon Beason and Thomas Davis, who both missed nearly all of last season with injuries, are gradually working their way back to full strength.

Rookie Luke Kuechly has displayed the talent and instincts that made him a first-round draft choice, but, as expected, he’s working his way through rookie mistakes.

Then there’s seven-year veteran James Anderson.

With the linebacker depth dwindling last year, the Panthers desperately needed Anderson to produce. They needed him to provide some stability.

He started all 16 games, setting the franchise record for tackles in a season with 174.

“(James) was a huge plus for us last year as a steady force,” head coach Ron Rivera said. “He assumed so many roles, and he was very consistent and played very well. He’s doing it again right now.”

He’s someone Rivera can count on, and that, Anderson says, is what he’s here for.

“I feel like my role is to be where I’m supposed to be. Make the plays that come to me, be in the right position. Be accountable,” Anderson said. “We have guys that are coming back (from injury), and I’m just trying to stay healthy. I can help Luke along so we can grow as a group.”

Davis (calf) and Beason (hamstring) are getting closer to re-joining the group at full strength.

Davis has performed well in back-to-back practices, increasing the possibility that he will play at the New York Jets on Sunday.

“We increased his workload, and he’s looking really good,” Rivera said. “If Thomas is feeling strong enough and we feel like he’s made enough of a recovery, we’ll most certainly play him. He looks good right now moving around.”

Beason has been more limited, but he too is making strides.

“Beason started moving a little bit more, started doing some of the installation stuff, so that’s a huge plus,” Rivera said. “I’m pretty excited about that.”

OTHER INJURY NOTES: Two reserve linebackers – Kenny Onatolu (hamstring) and Jason Williams (elbow) missed practice for the second consecutive day Monday. … Rivera said wide receiver David Gettis did a little extra work on the side during Monday’s practice. There’s still no timetable for the return of Gettis, who is on the Physically Unable to Perform list after missing last season with a knee injury and suffering a hamstring injury during organized team activities in June. … Running back Tauren Poole returned to practice after suffering a concussion last week at training camp but running back Lyndon Rowells is still out with a concussion suffered in last Friday’s game. … Wide receiver Steve Smith returned to action Monday after resting a sore foot Sunday. … The players will be off Tuesday before returning Wednesday to continue preparations for the Jets.