CHARLOTTE – It’s business as usual for the Panthers this week.
At least that’s what head coach Ron Rivera is striving for as he prepares his team for its first ever international game against the Buccaneers in London this Sunday.
Quarterback Cam Newton made an appearance at the start of Tuesday’s practice, riding in on his motorized bike, but Rivera confirmed Newton will not make the trip. Newton has not played since the Panthers lost to Tampa Bay on Thursday Night Football in Week 2.
“Medically, the best thing is to keep him from being on an airplane for eight hours and standing up all the time,” Rivera said.
The same line of thinking is why Newton wasn’t on the sideline during Carolina’s victory over Jacksonville last Sunday.
“Just continuing his rehab,” Rivera said of Newton. “We have no timeline. He’ll go through whatever they have planned for him. Kyle (Allen) is our starter and we’ll continue that way.”
Allen, who is 3-0 as the starter this season, will make his fourth consecutive start. It’ll be his first time ever overseas.
“We get there on Thursday (morning) and then we have two days two adjust,” Allen said. “I don’t think it’s going to be that big of a deal.”
That’s the plan.
Rivera and his staff looked at how other teams approached the London trip and settled on an overnight flight Wednesday as the best choice.
“We are trying to do Tuesday-Wednesday as our Wednesday-Thursday, knowing that we’re going to travel Wednesday night and try to get acclimated as much as possible,” Rivera said of the practice schedule. “We are trying to make sure Friday, Saturday and Sunday are as normal as possible for our guys.
“This is a very important divisional game,” he added. “We’ve got a lot of things riding on it. We’re playing well and we’d like to continue to do that.”