CHARLOTTE – Left tackle Matt Kalil technically was eligible to return to practice Wednesday – the Panthers' first practice since he reached the six-week threshold on injured reserve Monday – but he instead worked on the side.
"He's working with the trainers," head coach Rivera said of Kalil, who was placed on injured reserve six days before the season opener with a knee injury. "They've got him on the side now outside, and as each week goes by, we'll evaluate and make decisions based on what the doctors and trainers are telling us."
NFL teams are allowed to pull two players off the season-ending IR list after they've sat out eight games, and Kalil is considered a strong candidate for that designation.
Kalil isn't eligible to play until Carolina's ninth game, a Thursday tilt in Week 10 at the Steelers. Veteran Chris Clark has played well at left tackle since signing with the team after Week 1.
Other injury news
Tight end Greg Olsen was limited in his first practice since his first game back from a broken foot, but it's not a reason for concern.
"That's going to be Greg's new normal for the most part," Rivera said. "Like we do with Julius, we're just going to try to be smart with Greg."
Julius Peppers got a rest day as he typically does on Wednesday, and fellow defensive end Mario Addison and safety Mike Adams got one as well. Linebacker Ben Jacobs missed practice to be with his wife for the birth of twin boys.
Absence of Anderson
Running back C.J. Anderson wasn't injured entering last Sunday's game at Washington but he was nearly a healthy scratch. After totaling 30 offensive snaps through four games, Anderson got one snap against the Redskins.
"I wouldn't say I was frustrated. Our coaches are doing everything they can, trying to do whatever it takes to win football games," Anderson said. "We knew from the jump that there's days you're going to get it and days you don't get it. That was one of my days I didn't get it. They thought that was best for the team."
The Panthers didn't win, falling to 0-2 on the road heading into an NFC East venue this Sunday against the Eagles.
"Now that's what's frustrating, really – 0-2 on the road," Anderson said. "Championship teams find a way to win games away from home. It's on us to keep pushing."
Different year, similar situation
"Frustrating" also would be a fitting word from the Panthers' perspective to describe last year's game against the Eagles. Much like last Sunday's loss in Washington, turnovers played a critical role. Carolina turned the ball over three times, twice setting up Philadelphia with a short path to the end zone in a 28-23 victory on Monday Night Football.
"We had a little bit of it last week," Rivera said when asked what comes to mind about last year's Week 6 showdown. "We can't turn the ball over. We turned the ball over twice against them last year in the red zone. We've just got to be able to protect the football and play our game."
Eagles coach Doug Pederson said on a conference call Wednesday that last year's game was "a moment for our football team to see where we were at." The victory in the battle of 4-1 teams helped propel Philly toward its eventual title, and this Sunday's game between two three-win teams has the potential to be looked back upon as a turning point come season's end.
View the photos of the Panthers' week of practice leading up to their game against the Eagles.