CHARLOTTE – Quarterback Cam Newton was the only Panther listed on the first injury report of the 2014 season after he did not participate in Wednesday's practice.
Newton, who suffered a fractured rib against the New England Patriots in the third week of the preseason, experienced soreness, so after donning pads and stretching with the team, he went inside for treatment.
"He came in and worked with (head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion) in preparation for this weekend," Rivera said. "A lot of it had to do with the way he felt. We've always had to be fluid.
"We were fortunate we had an extra day on Saturday and Monday to go through our installations, so we are ahead of the game right now."
Rivera expects Newton to practice in some capacity on Thursday.
"We expect him to do something tomorrow," he said.
Rivera and Newton have both previously expressed confidence in the chances of Newton playing in the regular season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Rivera remains optimistic.
"I expect him to be there. We'll see how it all unfolds though. We've got to look at this day-by-day," Rivera said. "I've been wrong before, but we'll see."
PROGRESS OFF THE FIELD: Newton's ankle surgery in March kept him off the practice field during offseason training activities and minicamp, but offensive coordinator Mike Shula found a way to keep him involved while increasing his familiarity with the offense.
"One of the things he did differently this year is Coach Shula had him install for the whole offense," Rivera said. "He wasn't just sitting there as a quarterback trying to write things down; now you've got to get up and make a presentation.
Rivera believes Newton's increased role in installation meetings is a sign of growth as a veteran quarterback.
"Being able to do that for the team I think has helped him," Rivera said. "You do want your quarterback to be able to get up there and say, 'This is what I'm looking at as the quarterback.' The veteran guys that are learning and progressing – that's what they do – they communicate those things."
JACOBS MAKES THE CUT: Linebacker Ben Jacobs walked into Bank of America Stadium last Saturday, also known as cut day, with plenty of nerves.
"You know what you are going to be faced with," Jacobs said. "You see the guy (aka the Turk) and if he stops you that's not good. If you keep walking, there is a good chance you are alright."
Jacobs kept walking unimpeded. Did he breathe a sigh of relief?
"Not just yet. I kept looking over my shoulder," Jacobs said. "Maybe I slipped through the cracks or something."
Jacobs, who spent the first three years of his career on three different practice squads, did in fact make the 53-man roster. He could finally let out a hard-earned sigh of relief.
"It felt great. This is my fourth year and I just kept working, kept looking forward," Jacobs said. "Everyone here is deserving and everyone works hard, so I just had to keep working and hope that it would work out in the end."