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Carolina Panthers

Four Takeaways from Rivera Press Conference

KEEPING HIS TEAM GROUNDED: Head coach Ron Rivera is confident in his team's ability to stay focused on the task at hand, but he understands the dangers that come with an 8-0 record.

"The danger is taking somebody lightly," Rivera said. "The thing that we are trying to stress is it is one game at a time."

There is a lot to be excited about with how the Panthers have started the season, but Rivera wants everyone focused squarely on the Tennessee Titans.

"We are focusing on who we are going to play. As far as I'm concerned, it's a 0-0 season and you want to come out of next week 1-0.

"That's what the approach has to be."

EALY SHINES: Rivera praised the play of defensive end Kony Ealy, who finished with a sack, forced fumble and three quarterback hurries against Green Bay.

"Kony had a very good factor grade. You see him to continue to progress from both the defensive end position and the three-technique for us," Rivera said. "Real pleased with that. He has really stepped up and has gone forward right along schedule."

Ealy consistently beat his man off the snap and was a terror off the edge for much of the afternoon.

"Our coaches did a great all week preparing us for the snap counts," Ealy said. "I just got off the ball and got to him as best I could."

SEVERAL PANTHERS ON MEND: Rivera said linebacker Luke Kuechly, who twisted his ankle twice during Sunday's game against the Packers, could be limited for Wednesday's practice but should be ready to go by the end of the week.

Fortunately for Kuechly and the Panthers, the star linebacker did not suffer a high ankle sprain.

"He's a little sore and he'll probably be stiff and sore for the next couple days," Rivera said. "The nice thing is it is not a high ankle sprain. That's the best news I got."

Center Ryan Kalil, who played every snap in his return from a high ankle sprain, is also dealing with some post-game soreness.

"Kalil played pretty well. He's a little sore today, but he should be fine," Rivera said. "He might be limited on Wednesday, but we expect him to be out there Thursday ready to roll."

The Panthers could get defensive tackle Dwan Edwards (ankle) back at practice this week but guard Andrew Norwell, who missed Sunday's game with a hamstring injury, will likely be out for at least another week as he continues treatment.

"I want to be out there with my teammates, and it feels like I am letting them down by not playing," Norwell said. "But Amini (Silatolu) did a great job stepping up for the guys.

"It's just frustrating being on the sideline. I'm just picking up the therapy this week and seeing how it goes."

JOHNSON MAKING HIS WAY BACK: Defensive end Charles Johnson, who has been on short-term injured reserve with a hamstring injury, is eligible to begin practicing this week.

"He'll practice with the team and start building up his conditioning," Rivera said.

The earliest Johnson can return for game action is Week 12 against the Dallas Cowboys.

View the top photos by team photographer Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez from Carolina's game against Green Bay.

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