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Panthers sticking with the plan

Posted Jan 25, 2016

Head coach Ron Rivera wants to keep things as normal as possible leading up to Super Bowl 50.

CHARLOTTE – The Super Bowl by nature is the opposite of "business as usual," but head coach Ron Rivera intends to keep things as normal as possible.

The way Rivera sees it, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

"It's funny, you start talking to people about how to do things the next couple of weeks, and people say, 'Well, you should think about doing this, think about doing that,'" Rivera said. "I say, 'Wait a minute, guys. Let's stick to what we've done.'

"That's what got us to where we are, so that's going to be my emphasis as I go through this in terms of the schedule for the next two weeks."

The Panthers took a little time Monday to savor Sunday's dominating victory over the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship, but going forward they'll treat this week as if they'll be facing the Denver Broncos this Sunday. In reality, this Sunday will be a travel day out to the San Francisco area for Super Bowl 50, and then the week out there will be spent tweaking things in advance of taking on the Broncos.

"We'll pretty much try to keep it a normal work week, like we did two weeks ago (during the bye week leading up to the NFC Divisional Playoff versus Seattle). We'll practice Wednesday and Thursday and then have a padded practice Friday," Rivera said. "The next couple of days, the coaches are going to work to put together the game plan, working a regular Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as far as preparation. Every element of the game will be covered, just like a normal week, and then we'll get all situational football taken care of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

"Then when we get into San Jose, we'll refine it. We'll go through it, practice, and then after every practice we'll look at it."

Rivera wants to keep the practice plan the same in part to set the tone for something even more important – keeping his players the same. That's often a big challenge on the big stage that is the Super Bowl, but that's the goal.

"Don't change," Rivera said. "Some of my experiences in coaching have shown me that when you get into certain situations like the playoffs, there can be a little self-doubt where you think, 'Did I do enough? Do I need to do more? Should I change this?'

"I told our coordinators this morning that we're going to stick to what got us to where we are, and we'll emphasize that to our players."

Ultimately, the Super Bowl is an environment that Rivera believes his exuberant team will embrace.

"Oh, they're going to embrace it, you know that. It's really going to be a matter of managing it more than anything else," he said. "They've earned it. They deserve it. But we've got to remember what the focus is, and that's what we're playing for.

"It's not about getting there. It's not about being a part of it. It's about winning it, and that will be our main focus."

INJURY UPDATE: Linebacker Thomas Davis has already undergone surgery on the broken arm he suffered Sunday with the hopes of healing enough to play in the Super Bowl.

"My understanding is if everything goes well, it is something he most certainly would be able to play with. That's exciting," Rivera said. "But I don't what has been done exactly or the extent of the success."

Rivera said running back Mike Tolbert (knee) and safety Roman Harper (eye) were set to see doctors Monday.