Panthers' Rivera: Kelly Starting to Put It Together With 49ers

SANTA CLARA -– The Carolina Panthers' defense will be focusing on making good use of their time between plays on Sunday while facing Chip Kelly's offense for the third time in three seasons.

"You got to make sure everybody's on the same page," Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly said Wednesday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. "I think that's probably the biggest thing with preparing for these guys. With that tempo, if everybody's not on the same page, they can gash you.

"That's the biggest thing we've learned. If everybody's on the same page, if everybody communicates the call, that gives you the best opportunity. But if everybody is not on the same page, a little inside zone play can turn into a touchdown."

[RELATED: Report: 49ers defense says it knew Rams plays in Week 1]

The Philadelphia Eagles, under Kelly, defeated the Panthers 45-21 in 2014. Last year, Carolina won 27-16, despite the Eagles running 81 offensive plays and accounting for 349 yards of total offense.

"What I've seen so far, it's the same kind of ideas," Kuechly said. "Obviously, he has a couple new things in there. We've seen some of this stuff previously, and hopefully that'll help us out."

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he saw the 49ers unveil a very similar offense to what Kelly implemented during his three seasons in Philadelphia –- and even before that while turning Oregon into a national power.

"It's a solid offensive line, big physical guys up front, which is part of what Coach Kelly wants," Rivera said. "You got a very active tight end. You got wide receivers who run quick, cutting routes. And you have a good complement of running backs, starting with Carlos Hyde. I think they got what they need.

"And you got a trigger man (quarterback Blaine Gabbert) who has the ability to run or throw. It's what he's looking for. It's what he built when he was at Oregon. It's what he was doing when he was in Philadelphia, and he's starting to put it together in San Francisco."

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