CHARLOTTE – Head coach Ron Rivera readily admits he's glad the Panthers don't have a bye week to start the postseason.
"Am I glad? Yes," Rivera said. "Definitely."
Bye weeks haven't been good to the Panthers during Rivera's tenure. Counting last season's NFC Divisional Playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Carolina is 0-5 after a bye week under Rivera, who joked that he's often reminded of that statistic.
Postseason bye weeks afford teams rest and advancement to the next round, but they can also disrupt momentum. In the Panthers' case, they are excited to take the field again this weekend after winning four consecutive games to end the regular season.
"I do agree with that. Being able to carry momentum into (the playoffs) is a lot better than all of the sudden you've got to pause and take a breath. Your mind wanders a little bit. It's hard to maintain that, especially when you know you've got a break," Rivera said.
INJURY UPDATES: The Panthers suffered no significant injuries during Sunday's win over the Atlanta Falcons, but there is still some concern regarding running back DeAngelo Williams (hand) and linebacker A.J. Klein (ankle), who were both inactive.
"Still a little bit of concern with A.J. going forward. A little bit of concern with DeAngelo," Rivera said. "I expect (DeAngelo) to be out there (practicing) and expect him do the things that we need him to do."
Cornerback Josh Norman was stepped on in the fourth quarter, but Rivera said he's fine. The Panthers elected to play it safe by removing him from the game.
"He could have come back in," Rivera said. "With the situation what it was, we felt we should get Melvin (White) in there. We also wanted to get Carrington Byndom some opportunities."
PRACTICE PROCEDURE: Last week, the Panthers practiced indoors for the first time all season. They'll do it again this week in preparation for Saturday's NFC Wild Card Playoff versus the Arizona Cardinals.
Carolina will practice at the Charlotte Convention Center tomorrow before returning to the practice fields at Bank of America Stadium on Wednesday.
"We are doing it for two reasons," Rivera said. "One is to get away from the crowd of people that will be out here (for the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium). But two, and more importantly, we are going to go inside and slow the tempo down. We don't want these guys going full speed. We are going to try and take care of our guys. It'll be a toned-down tempo practice."