CHARLOTTE – What's the focus of the bye week for the Panthers?
"Us," head coach Ron Rivera said simply.
With their divisional round opponent unknown, the Panthers are using this bye week as a time for critical self-evaluation.
"We're going to go over certain aspects of our schemes," Rivera said. "We are going to work specific areas. We're talking about situational football.
"The coaches went back and looked at a lot of tape and came up with a plan for the next few days that we'll work on."
Said left tackle Jordan Gross: "It gives us a chance to look at what we've been good at and what we haven't been. We'll make some corrections similar to what we do in a normal bye week."
But the amount of work will be carefully measured.
"We try to get these guys out right about now," Rivera said a little after 1:45 p.m following a brief walkthrough. "Go home, rest, relax, get off the field. Hopefully, these guys will take advantage of that."
After all, the main advantage of an off week in the postseason is a chance for rest and recovery on the heels of a grueling 16-game schedule.
"The biggest thing on the bye week is getting as healthy as possible," Gross said. "Whenever it's January nobody is too fresh, so it gives us a chance to recover. To get some more spring in your step is huge."
Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said, "We are going to get this rest and get off our feet."
And over the weekend, the Panthers will get a chance to sit back and watch playoff football from the comfort of home as they wait to see who they'll meet at Bank of America Stadium on January 12.
"Stay focused and realize what's the goal," safety Mike Mitchell said. "We have a great opportunity that we earned to get some time off and get healthy and actually be a fan of the game again. That's what guys get to do this weekend, and it was well-earned."