CHARLOTTE – In an effort to keep his players fresh heading into the Panthers' NFC Divisional Playoff, head coach Ron Rivera opted for his team to practice indoors at the Charlotte Convention Center on a bitterly cold Thursday.
"Really just the conditions more than anything else," Rivera said. "We were able to have the crowd noise in there. We were able to really focus on what we had to and not let the bad weather play into it.
"Secondly, we do the whole GPS tracking, and our numbers (reps) had been up lately. The emphasis is to try to keep these guys as fresh as possible. We took that into consideration."
The Panthers will depart for Seattle Thursday evening, and Rivera hopes his players get some additional rest during the lengthy cross-country flight. The head coach said he'll try to get some shuteye in between watching tape and reading.
"We've got a bigger plane. We'll have fewer guys to a row. They'll have an opportunity to stretch out and get comfortable," Rivera said. "I like to hope and believe these guys will be taking naps, because I most certainly am going to try to take one."
Once the Panthers land in Seattle, they'll follow a schedule designed to help them acclimate to Pacific Time as soon as possible. The team will practice around noon Pacific Time on Friday to make final on-field preparations.
"We are leaving in the evening so when we land there will be a correlation in terms of the time. Hopefully, the guys will be wound down and then they'll grab a quick snack and go to bed," Rivera said. "We'll get them up early West Coast time to try to get them acclimated. We're trying to get some sort of balance."