Panthers OLB coach Tem Lukabu: Yetur Gross-Matos transitioning well into 3-4 role
Yetur Gross-Matos has yet to find his stride in the NFL. But the Carolina Panthers are hoping, even in the midst of a defensive overhaul, that the former second-round pick finds something in Year No. 4.
For the first time since joining the organization back in February, new outside linebackers coach Tem Lukabu spoke with reporters on Wednesday. He was asked about the development of Gross-Matos within the team’s switch to a 3-4 base, where the 25-year-old will now work as a stand-up presence.
“As far as with Yetur—just a grinder, a worker. He’ll do it exactly how ask,” Lukabu said. “Very pleased with where he is along in his transition. There’s a process that he’s still going through. We talk about going from Point A to Point Z, he’s working along that progress really well.”
While largely solid against the run as a pro, Gross-Matos hasn’t made much of an imprint in the pass-rushing game. He’s totaled just 8.5 sacks over three seasons as a defensive end.
Lukabu was also asked of fellow outside backer Marquis Haynes Sr., who is making a smooth transition as well coming off a career-high 5.0 sacks in 2022.
“So, Marquis comes in with a lot of innate tools and instincts that fit what we do,” he said. “And he’s another guy that we’re working with—because you think about the way he’s been trained the last couple years, he’s gotta make that adjustment too. And he’s doing that very diligently himself. I’m really pleased with where he is in his development.”
Nonetheless, Lukabu added that the development is an ongoing process—for everyone involved.
“The scheme—we’re all still learning it,” he said. “I’m still learning it because I wasn’t with the Denver crew last year. But it’s been really fun because I have a growth mindset, I have a learning mindset. So for me, it’s been an exciting opportunity, it’s been an exciting challenge—and I think the players see it the same way.
“There’s so many nuances and little things that we can still get better at that will help us be the type of defense that we can possibly be down the line. But right now, we’re still in the knowledge phase and learning and getting all the details and the minutia right.”
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